I thought this was a fun list from mental_floss:

Surprising Facts About 15 Bestselling Authors

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So, I was rereading The Quilter's Apprentice the other day and it gave me a yen to make something quilty, which I haven't done in quite a while.

(By the way, I enjoyed the book so much more than I did years ago, now that I actually am a quilter, and know what the ladies are talking about through half of it!)

I pulled out my books, and locked onto a quilt made of Dresden Plates, which I've always thought were cool - but looked hard.

Still, I thought...maybe ONE wouldn't be so bad to make (not the 20 or so needed for this massive bed covering)...

So, I dug through my scrap box, dusted off the sewing machine, and voila! Wall hanging to fill in the space left by my new entertainment corner in Sunnymeade (with, yes, a new flat screen tv!).

Whatcha think? I'm quite chuffed, myself!

My Dresden Plate...

My Dresden Plate!

Quilting detail...

Plate Detail

New wallhanging...

In Place

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Okay, this just made me laugh out loud.

(via Bookshelves of Doom)

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Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

I so loved Lahiri's (Pulitzer Prize winning) novel The Namesake that I've been waiting for ages for this title to reappear on the shelf so I could check it out. I began reading yesterday morning, and by last night, had read through all of the short stories included in this title, and all of them are luminous, emotionally moving and impossible to forget.

Again, the focus is on the Bengali experience in America, and so much of the "foreigner" aspect resonated with me and my British roots - the travels back to England to see family, the maintaining of a culture abroad, and the ties of family even over so many miles. The first story, in particular, resonated with me (the loss of a mother, the moving on of life, and those left behind), but they all are beautiful in their own ways - albeit sad too.

This is a lovely collection of stories, and I couldn't put it down all day. A wonderful, wonderful read...


Quick Study by Maggie Barbieri

I just love the "Murder 101" series by Barbieri. It's a great mix of chick lit and mystery, with a totally likable protagonist in Alison Bergeron who sometimes makes me laugh out loud - plus her hunky boyfriend, detective Bobby Crawford.

This time around, Alison finds herself embroiled in a real estate deal gone very wrong when one of her friends' nephew goes missing, then goes missing himself. Murder, mayhem, a few hockey games, a few games of tonsil hockey and a great mystery are all included in this super fast, super funny read.

I totally love Alison - she's the kind of character I would TOTALLY hang out with. I can't recommend this series enough - I'm already ready for the fourth book in the series to appear!

Highly recommended!



Relay for Life in TinyTown has come and gone for another year, and was the first one without Mum as our "tentertainment" for the day. It was hard to see her name on the track "in memory of", but I'm once again so proud of the amount of money this little town can raise to fight cancer.

In particular, I'm exceedingly proud of the over $2,000 I raised individually, thanks to so many friends and family. My thanks to ALL of you. :-)

One of the coolest things I got to do this year was be a participant, and a tent volunteer, for our Cancer Prevention Study #3, a study being conducted at only 167 sites around the country. We signed up over 100 participants, and hopefully the data collected will help us eradicate cancer someday...

In fact, my sister and I were the subject of an article in our tri-state's major newspaper about the study (even if they did put an extra "r" in my first name!). You can read it right here:

"Sisters Who Lost Mother Sign Up for Cancer Study"

My other exciting news is that I was announced at Relay as the Co-Chair of the event event for the next two years. I'm excited (and yes, a little nervous!) about this amazing opportunity. I think Mum would be proud. :-)

Survivors take to the track...


Me working as a CPS3 volunteer...

CPS-3 Tent

Family portrait...

Family Smiles

Miss you, Mummy...

Mum's Luminarias...

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So, a couple of weekends ago, my friend Jen and I took a roadtrip to see what is probably the final tour of Nine Inch Nails *sniff*. We went from Bloomington to Chicago for the first show, then back down to Indy for the second show before returning back to Bloomington (and then back to Dad's house to pick up Zoe, before returning to TinyTown).

It was a lot of driving, but man, what spectacular shows!

The Chicago show was right on the lake at the Charter One Pavilion, and though we were in the pit and had drunken frat boys nearby, the set list was fantastic. Even if Trent joked that we needed ski masks because it was so cold on the lake, I didn't feel a thing when the show started...

The real capper, though, was the Indy show - we had AMAZING seats, only yards from the stage. And the band was just ON - you could tell Trent was stoked to be performing. We also got to see Street Sweeper Social Club (fronted by Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine fame) and Jane's Addiction.

Never mind the enormous storm that blew through, spawning a tornado a few miles away. ;-)

A great round of shows from our fave band! What a fantastic trip!

Sushi in Chicago...


Followed by a visit to Shedd Aquarium. No, I didn't feel guilty about my dinner the night before. ;-)

Shedd Aquarium

Jen and I superstoked about our seats in Indy!


Tom Morello of SSSC...

Tom Morello

Trent! In shorts! And the smoke machine is definitely working!


JMJ on bass...


The Finckster scores a touchdown!


Trent pounding the keys...

Pounding the Keys

Perry Farrell and Dave Navarro of Jane's...

Perry and Dave

Thanks for a great couple of shows, Trent!


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Dang, I've been gone and/or busy and/or away from the computer for a couple of weeks!

Between work, a roadtrip, Relay for Life and a minor surgery for Zoe (to have her girly parts removed), I've been missing my blog! Time for some updates...

For starters, how about a couple of cute puppy pictures?

The mutual adoration society...


Zoe (and flowers) blowing in the breeze...

Zoe and Flowers

Poor puppy! She gets her staples out next week - ouch!

Healing Nicely

My favorite picture lately...Zoe and her cousin Ziggy...smiling at each other instead of tussling!


Okay, now that we've all had our puppy fix....

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Time for another round of "mini" book reviews!

Last Term at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton

I'm so glad I reread this favorite series from my childhood...

The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffmann

I love all of Hoffmann's books - her writing is so luminous - but this was definitely a much darker tale. I found myself depressed and sad through most of it, and kept waiting for a happy ending. Lovely writing, but not my favorite of her stories (The Probable Future still wins that prize).

A Lady of His Own by Stephanie Laurens

The third book in the "Bastion Club" series, which had a lot more mystery and adventure (and Dalziel!) than the previous books. Ready for number four...

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Popular YA novel, taking place at a prep school where Frankie tries to hang with the boys. A bit of mystery, a bit of romance, and some truly spectacular pranks. This is going to be a popular read, methinks...

Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels

After watching her on Biggest Loser, I wanted to read her book. Much more about hormones and organic foods than I thought...


The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts

I was finally able to get my hands on the audio edition of this title, the third and final book in the "Sign of Seven" trilogy, which wraps up not only Cybil and Gage's story, but the story as a whole for Hawkins Hollow.

I stupidly enjoyed this trilogy - not only do you get classic Nora Roberts romance, but you have elements of the supernatural as well, all taking place in a perfect "small town". I liked getting to know the characters in more than one book (and liking them!), and of course, I like a happy ending. :-)

This is a great Nora trilogy, and I highly recommend it!