This is my latest restoration job, a 1940-50's* wedding ring quilt, meticulously hand pieced and hand quilted with 8 to 9 stitches per inch, beautifully composed and a real joy to work on.
Not a lot to do to get this one back to usable condition; I have about fifty patches and the binding to replace. The quilting blew my mind when I first saw it; this is probably the best quilt stitching I've seen in a relatively modern quilt ever:
*A couple of oddities about this one have me puzzled and unable to narrow down the date it was made. The maker chose a wonderful lavendar color for the background, but used cotton/polyester blend fabric which reduces the value of the quilt (no self-respecting traditional quilter uses anything with polyester in it, not even thread.) I'm thinking the lavendar fabric came from a set of bedsheets.
Also, the patchwork is made up of fabrics that may be as new as prints from the 50's and as old as flour and feedsacks from the 30's. It's possible she was a lifelong fabric hoarder -- a lot of quilters are -- or she raided her mother's scrap bag.
Sadly another thing that reduces the value of the quilt is the batting she used. It appears to be one of the first polyester battings that ever came on the market, which were lousy. They were like brillo pads in consistency and end up thinning and lumping after a while. What saved the quilt was her stitching, which is so dense and so well done that it prevented the batting from shifting.
Her patchwork is splendid; she definitely used templates and her rings are perfectly balanced. Because wedding ring quilts with colored backgrounds are rare, had she used all cotton fabrics and cotton batting, this quilt would be worth about a thousand dollars today.
New Cover Art:
Some (belated) info: The gold in the background is metallic, exactly as the blue was in the cover for The Steel Caress, but subtle so it doesn't look brassy. When we discussed the cover I had suggested Mardi Gras colors, which are purple, green and gold, and a fire or flame theme, but I actually like this better. It has the feel of New Orleans (which is the novel's setting.) I'm really pleased with Onyx's production team and the superb job they've been doing with covers for my JH books.
And the book is . . .
Edited, checked, fiddled with, pried out of my clutching hands and finally finally finally
(not big enough)
Ladies and gentlemen, please return your tray tables to the upright position and thank you for flying Air Kelly.
How do you know when a Chinese government official is lying?
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said the Shenzhou flight was a key step in the ''peaceful development of space.''
Answer: When his lips are moving.
And so I live to see one of my worst nightmares become a reality. The Chinese government is now launching manned rockets into space. This would be the same Chinese government who is still trying to take maritime control of 80% of the world's shipping lanes by faking undersea archeological finds and claiming them for "the motherland."
Oh, you thought I made up that stuff in Paradise Island? Ha.
Just a suggestion, think about all the governments in history who have referred to their country as "the motherland." Now, keeping that image in mind, give them nuclear weapons and shoot them up into space where we can't monitor what they're doing. Still feel safe?
NASA was quick to get the space pompoms out for the Shenzhou, weren't they? O'Keefe even stopped padding his expense account long enough to issue a statement:
''The Chinese people have a long and distinguished history of exploration,''
said NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe. He wished China ''a continued safe human space flight program.''
That's so damn sweet, isn't it? But alas, not quite accurate. The Chinese have a long and distinguished history of conquering
people, Sean. They're not real fond of the United States, either. Don't be fooled by the fact that they're short and they smile and bow a lot. The only thing that has been keeping them from breathing down our necks is the disparity in technology, and they've just taken a big step in catching up.
You know how I feel about academic types -- the same way I do about flesh-eating bacteria -- but I accidentally stumbled on a publication
that sucked me in immediately and explained a lot of things about success (and myself) that I've never understood.
Then I jumped to another
about social control at the same site that rang so true that my ears popped while I was reading it.
If you're an ambitious writer, you should read the one on success. If you're a resident of the planet, you should read the one about social control.
Gary T. Marx, the author of both, is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at MIT.
"I Chose to Treat the Pain":
(PG-13 for language) I'm in a bad mood, so it's high time I commented on Rush Limbaugh's recent confession
of being addicted to painkillers.
Rush Limbaugh is a big fat hypocritical jerk, but after he makes remarks that reveal him as a racist and gets fired* for it, he suddenly comes out of the junkie closet. You know, you usually only see that kind of timing when you're poaching eggs.
This whole Look at me, I'm in so much pain that I've been supporting an entire Columbian drug cartel, but now that I've seen the light I've turned them into the cops and I'll do rehab because I'm such an honest guy
of his is such bullshit, too. There is no such thing as an honest junkie, and that's what Rush Limbaugh is: a junkie. He might have enough money to hide his habit, but under the skin he's no different from the 98 lb. filthy heroin addict who lives in a condemned building and goes around infecting people with AIDs because he'd rather spend his money on a fix than get clean needles to share with his pals.
And if you ever decide to come out as an addict, please, just admit it. Don't blame your pain, your doctors, your wealth, your image, your public, God, Buddha, 9/11 or Mommy spanking you when you were little. What respect I can summon for a junkie comes when they step up to the plate and say I did this because I wanted to. I deliberately hurt myself, my family and my friends. It's my fault.
Because that's what it is. If you abuse a substance for any reason, you choose to do so. You make that choice every time you pop open a beer, snort something from a mirror or stick a needle in your arm. You can always walk away, every single time.
I don't care how awful life is and all of the really good reasons people become addicted to drugs, alcohol and what have you. News flash: Life sucks. For all of us, not just you. If you can't handle life without an addictive substance, then you're wasting good oxygen.
And anyone who feels they have an excellent excuse for being an addict can come and talk to me. I guarantee I can top your little whiny ass story any day of the week, and I'm not popping pills or drinking my breakfast.
I have no doubt Rush Limbaugh will survive rehab, and will emerge to regale the world with all the details on how he suffered through it. He'll testify in court against his suppliers so he can show the world what a great, honest guy he is. Then he'll find another way to get the drugs, or he'll switch to a legal addiction, like booze. He'll do it because he can't face what he really is, just like any other junkie.
*Or resigned. I've read both, but I hope the network fired his ass.
Oh Good Christ:
Take Free Myers-Briggs Personality Test
ISFP - "Artist". Interested in the fine arts. Expression primarily through action or art form. The senses are keener than in other types. 5% of the total population.
And I tried so hard to test out as "Cast Iron Bitch."