Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Book Review: Savvy, by Ingrid Law

I purchased Savvy, by Ingrid Law last summer at the national SCBWI conference, where she spoke as one of the keynote speakers. (Her book received a Newberry Honor award). I gave the signed copy to my 13 year old daughter, who absolutely loved it. Finally I picked it up last week and read it for myself. I also found it delightful, so I decided to share it with you.

Mibs (short for Mississippi) is a wonderful character who turns 13 in the beginning of the story. It is an important age for anyone but especially for the Beaumonts, who find out at 13 what their "savvy" is. Her brother Rocket can create electricity. Her brother Fish can make hurricanes. Her grandfather can move mountains. Now it's her turn. But on her thirteenth birthday she isn't able to be home with her family for a quite celebration and the onset of her savvy.

Her father gets into an accident, turning everything upside down and sending her and some new friends on an adventure that teaches them some hard life lessons.

I found it was a comming of age story about friendship, trust and believing in oneself. I would definately recomend it to middle grade readers--and adults who like sweet stories.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I'm a Guest Blogger

I'm a guest blogger this week on Christine Bryant's awesome blog, DayDreamer. Come check it out. Christine is a fellow writer and friend I met through Authors Incognito (a part of the LDStorymakers community). Every Friday she highlights a fellow writer on her site, and lets them blog about themselves. My guest blog includes a brief history of how I became involved in writing as well as my puppet career. Please take a moment and visit Christine's blog and learn more about the things that make me tick.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Easy Quilts to Make for Humaitarian Aid to Earthquake Victims

The first Sunday in March my Relief Society President announced a request from the LDS Humanitarian Services, asking for as many quilts as the sisters of the church could make. Because of the recent earthquakes around the world, their supply of quilts has run woefully low and the requests keep filing in. As I sat in church that day, that little voice in my head told me what I needed to do for the next month--make quilts. I had the material, I had the machines, I had the know how.

Interestingly, less than I year ago as I cleaned out my warehouse from my puppet making business, I had several bolts of fabric left over(even after the employee to whom I sold the custom-puppet design portion of my business took all the fabric she thought she could use). The idea came to me then that I could tuck that fabric away and I would eventually use it to make quilts for humanitarian aid--sometime way in the future . . . when I had time or when I was bored.

Well, needless to say, that when that little voice in my head told me to break out that fabric and make those quilts, it was sooner than I had envisioned--because I had no time, nor was I bored. Of course the Lord knew that I would never have the time, and I never get bored, so He nudged my conscience into sewing them up now, because NOW is when they are needed.

When I mentioned my desire to make quilts to my 14 year old daughter, she mentioned that they talked about the need for quilts in her Young Women's class. She said she would help me as one of her Young Woman's value projects. So last Monday we got started. She sews the pieces of fabric together, lays them out and pins on the batting and I sew the rest. Our goal is to Make 10 quilts by Easter. So far we have 4 completed.

This was such an easy fun project to do together, as well as fulfulling a great need, I thought it would be a good idea to share as my Mid-Month Make-something project. I'll post the instructions below and perhaps you would like to give it a go. Don't feel like you've got to make it into a big project like ours. Maybe you just want to try one quilt to donate to the cause. Or maybe you just want to make a quilt for yourself. (If you are interested in donating to humanitarian aid for earthquake victims, leave me a comment and I can give you more information).

(Makes one twin sized quilt)

Fabric:  4 yards of cotton/polyester fabric for the front, 4 yards of matching fabric for the back (total, 8 yards of 45inch fabric)
Batting:  one bag (WalMart is the cheapest place to buy it. It comes in a bag. They don't have twin sized, so I buy a full-sized batt and cut it down. It is still cheaper than buying it by the yard at Jo-Ann's etc.)
Pins: You'll need lots. The long quilting pins with the round heads work the best.

Cut each of the 4 yard pieces in half (two, 2-yard pieces)
Sew these cut pieces together at the selvage to form your front and back of your quilt. These sewn pieces should measure approximately 72" x 90". Press seams open.

Clear an area on your floor and lay out one of the sewn pieces with the right side up, (doesn't matter if its the back or front of the quilt).

With rightsides together, lay the other sewn piece of fabric on top of the fabric you just layed out. Smooth it out and line up the edges

Lay your batting on top of the two layers of fabric and smooth it out.

Trim off the excess batting on all sides.

Pin the edges together, placing the pins at least 3 to 5 inches apart, and completely around the perimiter of the quilt.

Sew around the perimiter of the quilt using as large of seam allowance as you need to guarantee that you catch all three layers, leaving a 12 to 15 inch opening to turn the quilt inside out.

Trim the corners, and then turn.

After it is turned inside out, pin the opening together to mimic the seam and stitch near the edge to close the opening.

Smooth out the edges of the quilt, pinning them in place all the way around the perimiter of the quilt.
Topstitch around the perimiter approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inches from the edge to secure the edges from puffing and rolling.

Lay the blanket out on the floor again, smoothing it out, and measure and mark 14 inch intervals to place your sewing lines. By using a striped fabric this makes the process much easier. If you don't have a striped fabric, you will need to draw sewing lines. After you have your lines drawn (or chosen from the striped fabric), pin then in place at those lines to prevent the fabric and batting shifting during the sewing process.

Sew the quilt together on your indicated lines, smoothing out the fabric and pulling out the pins as you go. To access the inner part of the quilt for sewing, roll up the edge of the quilt and work it under the arm of the sewing machine as you sew.
And now you have a completed quilt in just a few hours time!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Author, Dan Well's Workshop on Story Structure on YouTube, and I'm a winner on Christine Bryant's Blog. Yahoo, two great things to blog about

Dan Well, author of the soon to be relased in the U.S., I Am Not a Serial Killer taught an awesome workshop on story structure at the LTUE conference last month. I was lucky enough to attend the class, and walked away with lots of great info, even though I've been writing for years. He was kind enough to put this workshop on video and post it on YouTube. I just wanted to pass it on to my readers who might be interested.

I also wanted to mention in this blog that I am a winner of my first blog contest. Yes, I won a cool prize for a cool contest hosted by my cool friend, Christine Bryant. Make sure you check out her blog. She is always hosting contests, as well as guest bloggers and all sorts of neat stuff. Okay, you want to know what I won? A $20 gift certificate at Amazon.com. Guess what I'm going to buy. You are right--books. One that is on my list is Dan Well's, I Am Not a Serial Killer.

After his workshop I realized it was a must have. Especially as he described the characterization of his MC. It's kind of what I wanted to do to the MC of my next novel, so I know I want this book. I'll do a review on it after I read it and let you know how I liked it. I have to admit, I'm a bit aprehensive because I don't usually read books from the horror genre.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Guide to Literary Agents - ''Dear Lucky Agent'' Contest: Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance (For Both Teens and Adults)#commentstart#commentstart

Guide to Literary Agents - ''Dear Lucky Agent'' Contest: Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance (For Both Teens and Adults)#commentstart#commentstart

I learned about this contest from a freind on facebook. Actually I had read about it in my SCBWI newsletter but didn't pay attention to it until Rhonda Gibb Hinrichsen mentioned how easy it was to enter. So I entered. You should too, (if you have a completed manuscript that would be classified as either paranormal romance, or urban fantasy. Luckily, I just happen to have one kicking around I'm trying to find an agent for).