That's right, I've been traveling the world and it's all thanks to books. I'll explain...........I had been thinking how much I'd love a vacation, in fact, I really need a vacation. The last time I went further than Iowa was in 2005 when my husband was on a business trip to San Diego. Hmmmm, I would love to go there again. Yes, I would love to visit someplace a little warmer and could really use the rest. But, no time for travel now. Lots of family stuff going on and seems like everyone has been sick, and now.........I've managed to do a number on my right shoulder/arm/elbow and have what must be tendonitis or tennis elbow (have never played tennis in my life). My problem could also be caused by too much of the following........ rotary cutting, hand-stitching, using the mouse/computer, glittering, glueing, finishing projects, starting more projects, etc., etc. Whatever the case, there's a muscle, sort of in the back of my upper arm, then down around my elbow that says it hurts when I move the wrong way. I tried ignoring it, then it got worse on Tuesday. So yesterday, I nursed it along with the heating pad and Ibuprofen and it was better by the time I went to bed. Hoping that today will continue that way. :-) I am going to make sure to relax as I have much I want to do and have no plans to jeopardize those plans!!!
So back to the books and travel. I figured if there is no vacation in sight, then maybe I could pretend I to travel. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I had "taken a trip" just before New Year's. See that book cover? It's a gift I bought myself for Christmas. Actually, I bought everybody in our immediate family a book in the bargain bin at the Dollar Tree store. I've found there are some really good books that end up there. This one is set in the hills of North Carolina just before World War II. I thought of my mother-in-law when I read this as her family came to Iowa from North Carolina and she was a young wife and mother when the war began. It was a simple love story and I really enjoyed reading the book. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to go to the library that next week and check out a whole stack of books. I checked out the new books section and saw a number of western fiction novels. I picked two and read the one called Westward*the*Monitors*Roar , an exciting tale of gold mining and swindlers in northern California. This is not my usual choice in books but I looked at it and thought of my dad who used to enjoy staying up late and reading a western novel when he was a younger dad. And I remembered a book I read when I was a young girl about gold-mining and how it has stayed with me all these years. Can't remember the title anymore, but I recall that I enjoyed the book very much.
So, I was here in Minnesota and transported myself to North Carolina for a few days and then hopped cross-country to California and the gold mines. I took a break after I read those books and then dove into the next book in the stack.....Maeve Binchy's Whitethorn*Woods set in Ireland. I was easily transported to Ireland in this book just I like I was transported to Greece when I read her book Nights*of*Rain*and*Stars. These two books are written quite differently, "Whitethorn" being a collection of characters that at first are difficult to fit together and "Nights" is a story with characters connected by a tragedy, but both left me wanting more so I think that's the sign of a really good book and a good author! Someday I want to visit Ireland. It was home to my ancestors who came to the U.S. sometime in the late 1700's. One day I will get there. I've been fortunate to have visited Greece at a time when I was much younger and didn't mind walking up and down the hills of Athens. I wouldn't mind visiting again though. :-)
I took another break before opening the next book in that stack......... The*Aloha*Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini and away I went to Hawaii!!! Now, if you are quilter, you are most likely quite familar with Jennifer's books. They tell the story of two main quilting friends, Sylvia and Sarah, and their connections to quilts, quilting and their friends. If you are not familiar with Jennifer's books, I highly recommend them and suggest you start with the first one as they chronicle the lives of these two quilting friends, as well as ancestors in other volumes along the way. The first volume is The*Quilters*Apprentice and while I have enjoyed each of her books (I've read them all) this is my favorite. Oh, and I realized as I read the book that I definitely want to try a small Hawaiin applique project. Have added it to my "to do" list. :-)
So, where will I travel next? Well, the next book in the stack is by Catherine Coulter....... The*Valcourt*Heiress and it looks like it might be one that I will have a hard time setting aside once I start reading it. I will be escaping to medieval England and I can hardly wait to get there! Having been fortunate enough to have visited England and the countryside where dear King Arthur and Guinevere are supposed to have lived, I will thoroughly enjoy stepping back in time to the days of knights and lovely maidens. Luckily, though, I will be snuggled under a quilt as I read and very happy that I don't really have to live in a drafty castle. I'll let you know how I like this one. It will be good diversion since I need to let my arm and shoulder rest before I get back to my sewing projects. There are two more books in the stack, both are quilting books full of inspiration. More on them and some other books in my next post.
The Snowman Quilt project will get posted soon. :-)
Stay warm, folks! If you are here in the midwest we are going to have a couple of really cold nights coming up! Great time to snuggle under a quilt and read a good book!!!