sharing books – the gandalara cycle, by randall garrett …

Gandalara Series

I want to share a favourite series with you today, called the Gandalara Cycle. The three books that make up this series were written in the 1980s, and you find it a little difficult to source copies of the books, but it is worth the hunt, if you like a good fantasy read. You will probably end up with a second-hand set of books though. The series was written by a husband and wife team, and was originally published as seven books, but now is condensed into three novels.

Here’s a teaser …

Sixty-year-old Ricardo Carillo, a terminally ill professor of Romance languages, is hit by a falling meteor while on a cruise in the Mediterranean. He wakes up in the desert on an unfamiliar world, where he has taken over the body of the Swordsman Markassat. He finds that he shares a telepathic link with Markassat’s mount Keeshah, a Sha’um, or giant cat similar to a sabertooth tiger. He also learns that he is a suspect in the theft of the Ra’ira, an immensely valuable gem linked to the history of his new home. Renamed Rikardon, he sets out on a quest to recover the jewel, which will eventually carry him across Gandalara. Along the way he aids Tarani, the true heir to the throne of Eddarta, and ultimately learns his new land’s strange secret. … [irosf]

What I loved about the book was the relationship between the characters and their cats … so much fun to watch their relationships develop. And of course, the mystery that slowly pervades the story thread was fascinating, and I didn’t see the resolution of it coming. I grab these books off my shelves every couple of years and re-read them … great fantasy adventure, and I recommend it.

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the white stuff – bedroom …


Isn’t this a pretty spot?

Things to love … light streaming through unusual windows, the touches of very pale green in the lamp base and headboard covers, the plump white doonas, and (i think) a timber floor to add some warmth.

This would be a perfect little guest room, tucked away in an attic space … a great sport for an afternoon nap or read.

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treasure box 90 …

This is my little weekly post called treasure box, where I share photos and links to interesting finds I have come across as I surf, just bits and pieces that catch my attention.

You might find them fun too … this week I found lots of home libraries that I thought I would share. After living in 12 different homes since we’ve been married, for the first time, I have the very welcome opportunity (and room) to create our own little home library.

We are a family of readers, and even though I mostly buy ebooks now, we do still have a collection of ‘paper’ books. I’m busy organizing some lovely white Ikea Billy bookcases with glass doors. There is also a rug in the equation, along with a floor lamp, two comfy chairs, and some reading posters on the wall. Exciting times … and so I thought I would find some inspirational home library ‘eye-candy’ to share with you.

Find 1 … I love this chair, it just looks so comfortable, perfect for reading, for curling up in and enjoying a relax. There is a floor lamp to make sure your book is backlit, and a throw if you are cold. I’d like somewhere to pop my coffee cup though …

English Joins Us[English Joins Us]

Find 2 … I like this little library tucked away in a corner on a landing, lamp behind the very comfy chair, natural light through the window, and look, somewhere to put my coffee cup!!! Perfect way to use these space!


Find 3 … another pink (sort of) chair, with an amazing view, and again, a great way to use a very awkward tight spot. Love this little corner …

Pinterest 2[Pinterest]

Find 4 … a . maz . ing library, don’t you think? I would so love to have this in my home, and a view as well!

Pinterest 3[Pinterest]

Find 5 … last library for this treasure box, with white glass-doored bookcases … does this one surprise you? You all know I have a love for white bookcases! Again, a comfy chair, natural light, coffee table, view and books, books, books!!!

Pinterest 4[Pinterest]

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project 365, week 15 …

project 365, week 15, page 1

project 365, week 15, page 2[Credits: Hello There Template (altered), by Paislee Press. Font: Courier New.]

Journaling – cousins together for the weekend | charli is so pleased to see his mum home again | celebration at work, late friday afternoon | the girl is home!!! | ‘herringbone’ quilt made from leftover hsts, from quilt 2 of the simply retro challenge | in training for the june marathon | music drifting once again through the house … [wk 15, apr 6 - 12, 2014]

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hello story – ali edwards’ class …

I have a confession to make, gentle reader … it seems that I have fallen off the ‘scrapping wagon’.

Now, in my defence, I didn’t really want to fall off the wagon (there were extenuating reasons, like an interstate shift, and three months of living out of a suitcase in six different residences), and I would really like to climb back on the wagon, but I seem to be paralyzed with fear. I open PS and LR, and I look at pretty photos and gorgeous kits, but that’s about as far as it seems to go.

All good motivators say that if you want to climb back on that ‘wagon’, sometimes a new challenge will help you do just that. So a few days back, I enrolled in Ali Edwards’ ‘hello story’ class, which runs for three months at Big Picture Classes.

hellostory[hello story]

This class poses the question … what’s your story?

‘In her popular 12-week workshop, Hello Story, Ali Edwards will introduce you to 12 storytelling “structures”—never before seen in her prior journaling workshops—that will bring creativity and clarity to both your writing and your page designs. Every week, you get to sit over Ali’s shoulder and watch her transform her story ideas into timeless, authentic, story-rich scrapbook pages.’ [BPC]

Now, does that sound inspiring or what? I’ve kept up-to-date with my weekly P365 double page spreads, but I think my last ‘real’ scrapping page was six months ago, which seems a very very long time to me.

Time to get my scrapping boots back on, and get into it … stay tuned for layout 1, coming soon!!!

Posted in e-class, scrapbooking | 2 Comments

tutorial – scrappy ‘herringbone’ HST quilt …

Here’s a mini tutorial for my latest scrappy ‘herringbone’ quilt made from the ‘leftovers’ of my second Simply Retro challenge quilt. You can grab a PDF of this blog post/tutorial here

Half Square Triangles
Step 1 … Construct your HST (half square triangles). Cut patterned and plain fabric into 5 7/8 inch strips, then trim into 5 7/8 square inches. I have used Mormor fabric by Lotta Jansdotter, and white quilters homespun.

In my scrappy quilt there are 13 rows;  each row consists of 14 blocks, making a total of 182 HST blocks. I cut 91 white squares and 91 patterned squares.

Step 2 … Place one white square with one patterned square, right sides together. Draw a pencil line diagonally on the white square, from corner to corner. Pin either side of the drawn line. Do this with all the squares.

Step 3 … Sew/ 1/4 inch from the drawn line on each side of the square, then cut along the pencil line. You will now have two HSTs. Finger press and then press (with an iron) the HSTs. Trim the corners off each square.

Scrappy Quilt 7

Quilt design
Step 4 … Now comes the fun part. I opened up an image of a ‘herringbone’ quilt on my laptop, and put my laptop where I could easily see it. Then it was just a matter of laying out the quilt top (I laid mine out on the floor), checking often to make sure the HSTs were ‘running’ the right way.

Scrappy Quilt 1

Step 5 … When you have a design laid out, don’t forget to step back from the quilt top and check your colour placement and overall ‘feel’ of the quilt.

Constructing the quilt top
Step 6 … Carefully place each row into piles and number each row. I have pinned a number on the first block of each row, so that I don’t mix up the order.

Scrappy Quilt 2

Step 7 … Pin each row. Make sure you check the row when you have finished pinning it (before you sew the blocks together) to make sure you haven’t accidentally turned any of the blocks.

Step 8 … Sew the rows of blocks together. I chain-piece six rows together at the same time.

Scrappy Quilt 3

Step 9 … Lay the rows on top of each other, then carefully press them. If you press them in order, you can make sure that you press the seams alternately. For example, row 1 is pressed to the left, row 2 is pressed to the right, row 3 is pressed to the left.

Scrappy Quilt 4

Step 10 … Pin the rows together in order. This is where I use my Clover fork pins, pinning each side of the seams. It makes for very neat and easy sewing. Sew the rows together.

Scrappy Quilt 5

Step 11 … Carefully press these seams, then press the finished quilt top. Now you are ready to begin the next part of the journey, the quilting process.

Scrappy Quilt 6

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the white stuff – bathroom …

Greige Design[Greige Design]

A serene bathroom today …

Things to love …  the gorgeous grey (concrete?) floor, an unusual window letting in loads of light, lots of clean, fresh white, a natural basket, which (along with sprigs of greenery) adds warmth, an extra deep bath, and the fact that the toilet is tucked out of sight.

It all looks good to me …

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gilded succulent pots, by delia creates …

Delia Creates

[Delia Creates]

I’m sharing a link to this simple tutorial to paint pots … very pretty, and I’m loving the succulents in these little pots.

Even my non-existant green thumbs and fingers can grow succulents!!!

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project 365, week 14 …

project 365, week 14, page 1

project 365, week 14, page 2 ...[Credits: Hello There Template (altered), by Paislee Press. Font: Courier New.]

Journaling – continuing our weekend tradition, weekend breakfast with the man | charli & i are both missing our girl | quilt 2 of the #simplyretrochallenge is done | a treat at the end of a stressful day | surprise gift from avondale | hard life lesson this week, the boy was pick-pocketed at the movies | the man relaxing … [wk 14, mar 30 - apr 5, 2014]

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honey berry yoghurt pops, at joylicious …


I’m sharing a link to Joylicious here, because this looks too delicious not to share … you will find more yummy photos and a ‘recipe’ for this summer treat at Joylicious.

I think I need to make these … now!

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sharing technology – buying ebooks at the best price …

In the last few years, I have almost completely stopped buying paper copies of books (except pretty quilting books), and instead purchase ebooks, mostly through Amazon, choosing to read them through my Kindle app on my iPad. I’ve often wondered if I am getting ‘value’ when purchasing my eBooks this way.

Today I came across a website that compares ebook prices on various platforms. I thought it would be interesting to test it out, so I decided to ‘test’ my last ebook purchase.

The website is called Luzme, and all you need to do is select your country at the top of the page … I clicked on Australia … and then type Author, Title, Series or ISBN of a book in the search box. I did a search on Bones of the Lost, by Kathy Reichs.

Luzme 1

I selected the correct book … top of the ‘green’ list on the left, “Bones of the Lost: A Temperance Brennan Novel”, by Kathy Reichs.

Luzme 2

I can see four prices now, and it’s pretty obvious that purchasing my Kindle ebook in this case was my best option.

Don’t you love technology?

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simply retro challenge, quilt 2 …

Quilt 2 - Playground 1

Now that April is officially here, I am excited to share with you my version of quilt 2 of our Simply Retro challenge. [this quilt may or may not have been begun just before April arrived …]

For this month, Cassie has chosen Playground, and I’ve used the Mormor collection of fabrics in my quilt, along with my favourite white fabric, which is white homespun which I buy by the bolt. Again, I’ve been forced to take a photo using ‘not so good’ morning light, as I finished the quilt around 6 pm, and the evening light was even worse.

Quilt 2 - Playground 2

This was a quilt that made up very quickly, as the blocks were fairly simple to put together. Somewhere along the line, I made a mistake when I was planning out the quilt (I adapted the pattern a little), and I made twice as many Flying Geece blocks as I needed, so this month I will make a HST quilt from the extra blocks. I aim to use all the fabric that came in my fat quarter collection of Mormor fabrics … no waste, nothing left over … win win!!!

I spent the better part of a day sewing it up, and I chose to do it over the weekend as I had a full day to play with. The weather was miserable, I was up-to-date re the washing and ironing, the boy was working on a Java programming assignment, and the man was recovering from a half marathon and a couple of extra long runs, so I traipsed upstairs to my craft studio [I love the way that sounds!!!], watched some catch-up TV on my laptop and set to sewing. Heaven!!!

Quilt 2 - Playground 3

If you are wondering if the little pin [a Clover fork pin] in the image above works, let me give you a quick product review! I LOVE them … you use them to pin either side of seams when you are lining up two seams, hopefully with one seam allowance opening to the left and one to the right. They help to secure the seam intersections while you sew.

The rounded end of the fork pin sits up off the fabric, so it is easy to pull as as you sew close to it. I find them a big help, as you don’t have to pin through the extra thick stitching seam on two pieces of fabric. I hope this makes sense … try them, I find them a wonderful addition to my sewing kit. You can find them at OzQuilts if you live in Australia …

So here we go, two quilt tops completed out of the eleven quilts in the book, a mini chevron quilt ready for my quilting lesson coming up, when I will learn to use the walking foot on my Bernina, and a HST quilt in the making from the scraps of the Mormor leftovers. Not bad … hope you are in the quilting zone too!

Share a link, if you would like to, and I’ll come visit!!!

Quilt 2 - Playground 4

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the white stuff – kitchen/dining area …

Home Design Board[Home Design Board]

A glimpse of a beautiful kitchen/dining/lounge area … not huge in terms of actual area, but it seems so very spacious!

Things to love … the very high ceiling, large windows/doors framed in black, the pale timber floor that adds warmth to all the white, loads of natural light, the clean lines of the stainless steel fittings in the kitchen, the pendant lights (I want pendant lights!), the timber coffee table and bowl, bringing a little of nature inside, and the neutral rugs in the kitchen that keep soften the work areas without making a fashion statement.

So very clean, fresh, tidy … I’m moving in!!!

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treasure box 89 …

This is my little weekly post called treasure box, where I share photos and links to interesting finds I have come across as I surf, just bits and pieces that catch my attention.

You might find them fun too … this week I found some pretties on Etsy to share with you.

Find 1 … Isn’t she sweet? A doll with a cloth body and beautiful long hair. You can find her at NatsDoll.



Find 2 … Some delicate, sparkly ear-rings. Love. I discovered these at WulfGirl.


Find 3 … How sweet are these little bowls, found at Farmhouse Mud.


Farmhouse Mud

[Farmhouse Mud]

Find 4 … something to put up on a wall, I think this is stunning. I discovered this piece of art at Racetay.



Find 5 … And lastly, a gorgeous green leather notebook (120 pages blank cream or white pages), which I found at Jackdaw Bindery.

Jackdaw Bindery

[Jackdaw Bindery]

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project 365, week 13 …

project 365, week 13, page 1

project 365, week 13, page 2

[Credits: Hello There Template (altered), by Paislee Press. Font: Courier New.]

Journaling – shopping for furniture … i can see this in our bedroom | breakfast at the coffee club | friday selfie | new rug for the library perhaps? | hexagon break at lunch time | something pretty from the stitches & craft show | my good-looking date … [wk 13, mar 23 - 29, 2014]

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sharing books – georgette heyer …

Georgette HeyerI was reminded recently of one of my favourite authors, so I thought I would share a little about Georgette Heyer and two of my favourite books from her collection of almost 60 books.

She was born in 1902 and died in 1974, and is best known for writing historical romances and detective fiction. I love that she began her writing career by writing a story for her younger brother, which was later turned into a novel.

From 1932 onwards, she wrote a romance novel and a thriller each year, and it’s a fun fact that her husband often provided her with the outline for her books. I’m not sure I would want my DH to do that for me!

My two hands-down favourite novels are These Old Shades (1926) and Devil’s Cub (1932). I keep coming back to these two novels again and again.

Here’s a taste of These Old Shades …

Set in the Georgian period, about 20 years before the Regency, These Old Shades is considered to be the book that launched Heyer’s career. It features two of Heyer’s most memorable characters: Justin Alastair, the Duke of Avon, and Leonie, whom he rescues from a life of ignominy and comes to love and marry.

The Duke is known for his coldness of manner, his remarkable omniscience, and his debauched lifestyle. Late one evening, he is accosted by a young person dressed in ragged boy’s clothing running away from a brutal rustic guardian. The Duke buys “Leon” and makes the child his page. “Leon” is in fact Leonie, and she serves the Duke with deep devotion. When he uncovers the true story of her birth, he wreaks an unforgettable revenge on her sinister father in a chilling scene of public humiliation.’ [Amazon]

And Devil’s Cub

Devil’s Cub is one of Georgette Heyer’s most famous and memorable novels, featuring a dashing and wild young nobleman and the gently bred young lady in whom he finally meets his match…

Like father, like son…

Dominic Alistair, Marquis of Vidal and fiery son of the notorious Duke of Avon, has established a rakish reputation that rivals his father’s, living a life of excess and indulgence. Banished to the Continent after wounding his opponent in a duel, Vidal schemes to abduct the silly aristocrat bent on seducing him into marriage and make her his mistress instead. In his rush, however, he seems to have taken the wrong woman.

Determined to save her sister from ruin, virtuous Mary Challoner intercepts the Marquis’s advances and throws herself into his path, hoping Vidal will release her upon realizing his error. But as the two become irrevocably entangled, Mary’s reputation and future lie in the hands of a devilish rake, who finds her more fascinating every day…’ [Amazon]

Posted in book reviews, sharing books | 2 Comments

tutorial – origami butterflies …

Design and Form[Design and Form]

Some exquisite butterflies this morning … you can find a tutorial to make these at Design and Form here … beautiful images and clear instructions, as always!

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simply retro challenge, quilt 1, update 2 …

SharonKenealy_SimplyRetro_Quilt 1_Image1

So here we go, quilting (and non-quilting) folks … quilt top one of the Simply Retro challenge, done and dusted!!!

It came together very quickly, I must say. After working on scrappy quilts and hexagon quilts for a couple of years now, it was really fun to piece such ‘big’ blocks together. I would say a couple of days work in this quilt top … planning, cutting, sewing, etc. I love the little nine patch blocks in the quilt.

I didn’t follow the pattern in the Simply Retro with Camille Roskelley: Fresh Quilts from Classic Blocks book, but adapted it to the size I wanted, and I had to use the little blocks, and was so please to end up using all but one I had made up, in the design you can see above.

A little bonus I wasn’t expecting was a mini chevron quilt that manifested itself during the process, made up from all the little ‘off-cuts’ from the corners of the centre blocks, and from the Flying Geese blocks. They were too pretty to throw out, and I made a little quilt from then in just a couple of hours.

SharonKenealy_SimplyRetro_Quilt 1_Image2

 I do apologise for the quality/light in these photos, but because I leave for work early and get home late, the ‘photographic light’ is not the best. These were taken before 7 am this morning, on top of my white bedspread, and although the light is not good, you will get a general idea of the quilts.

SharonKenealy_SimplyRetro_Quilt 1_Image3

Very cute, huh? This week I’m lining up a class at my local Bernina dealer to learn how to quilt the mini quilt. I’ve no desire to quilt the ‘big’ quilts, but I’d like to learn how to quilt something this size. I will let you know how I go … fun times!

Posted in quilting, sewing, simply retro quilts | 1 Comment

the white stuff – kitchen …

Savor Home

[Savor Home]

A white kitchen … I’d like one of these! I’m part way there, as I have a black and white kitchen, though I’m a little sad that it is more black than white.

Things to love … the big windows letting in lots of light, the simple light fitting with a touch of gold, some green by way of the plants, the lovely white chunky subway tiles, the large farmer’s sink, and the glassware on the white shelf.

I think it would be a pleasure to work in this kitchen [and p.s., I don't even cook!] …

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treasure box 88 …

My ‘treasure box posts’ are where I share photos and links to interesting finds I have come across as I surf, just bits and pieces that catch my attention.

This week my ‘finds’ are quilting-related … and as an aside, I really need to stop watching Youtube videos about quilting stuff that I really, really need!!!

Find 1 … the Simplicity Bias Tape Maker. This popped up on my ‘quilting horizon’ not long ago, and I decided very quickly that my mum and I needed one of these, so we paid for half each, and it is now living at my house. Watch the fabulous video by The Fat Quarter Shop here to see why you really need one too.

Mine is still in its box, but I will be making some binding soon, and I’ll post back on my blog when I have used it. I purchased my little machine here in Australia  as I was a bit nervous about purchasing it from ebay, and then finding out I have a problem with the power supply.

Simplicity Bias Tape Maker[Amazon]

Find 2 … more dangerous watching of Youtube videos, where I discovered this time that I really need this little ruler to trim my QSTs [quarter square triangles]. You can see a video demonstration this ruler here … for some reason, I can’t find the original video I watched, and I think it might have been part of another quilting-related video I was watching.

6 1/2 Triangle Square Up Ruler[Quilt in a Day]

Find 3 … Today I purchased this jar, and I’m using it to store the rainbow-bright 2 ½ inch squares that are sitting patiently, waiting for me to make them into colourful hexagons. Isn’t this a pretty option?

I want to go back to Bed, Bath ‘n’ Table to buy the matching medium and small glass storage jars, which will sit quite happily next to this large jar.


[Bed, Bath 'n' Table]

Find 4 … an online fabric store that I am loving is Westwood Acres. I have purchased from them, and the service was great, and the collections of fabric are drool-worthy. I tried to choose one image from the website to share here, and had to give up choosing a favourite, so I’ve gone with the store’s header. So many beautiful collections of fabric …

Westwood Acres[Westwood Acres]

Find 5 … I’m finishing off this week’s collection of quilty goodness with a tutorial for this bright and beautiful quilt called Step In Time. You can find the tutorial plus images here, on a blog called Samelia’s Mum …

Step in Time Quilt Tutorial[Step in Time quilt]

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