Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker - Review and Giveaway!

I was recently asked to review Jennifer Chiaverini's new book, Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.  This is this first book that she's written that is not part of the Elm Creek Quilts series, which we all know and love!  I was curious to see if her writing style would \be different when taking on a more serious topic, and it was definitely a change from what I was used to!

While the book is not one that I couldn't put down, like the Elm Creek novels, I'm enjoying it in a different way than her other books.  This brief synopsis of the book came from Amazon:

In March 1861, Mrs. Lincoln chose Keckley from among a number of applicants to be her personal “modiste,” responsible not only for creating the First Lady’s gowns, but also for dressing Mrs. Lincoln in the beautiful attire Keckley had fashioned. The relationship between the two women quickly evolved, as Keckley was drawn into the intimate life of the Lincoln family, supporting Mary Todd Lincoln in the loss of first her son, and then her husband to the assassination that stunned the nation and the world.

Elizabeth Keckley, a freed black woman, was a seamstress to many of Washington's elite.  Her work came to the attention of Mrs. Lincoln and she was hired as her personal seamstress. The book chronicles her life with the Lincolns as she becomes a confidante of the first lady and a friend to the president.

I'll admit, I'm not yet finished the book as it is a much slower read than her previous books and I've had a hard time remaining interested in the subject. To me it reads more as a history book than it does as women's fiction.  I haven't connected with the characters. I'm looking forward to hearing what others have to say about the book!

If you've stayed with me this far, please leave a comment...as soon as I finish the book, I'll randomly select someone to share this book with! (US comments only!)

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Here I am!

Hope you didn't forget about me!  Thanks to all of you who sent me your thoughts and condolences for Cheyenne.  She was a sweet cat and I miss her terribly.  We did adopt Holly right before Thanksgiving and she has been a joy to have around. We've had a lot of great cats over the 27 years we've been married, but never one with the personality that Holly has.  She's constantly making me smile!

So, here's a quick wrap up of our holidays...the kids were all here for dinner and we had a wonderful time...

and my little bit of "secret sewing" that was on my short list was embroidering Dayna's name on her new Christmas stocking.  We figured that it was about time she had her own stocking on Christmas instead of using an old one that we've had for years.  I got this stocking at Target and embroidered her name on it. She seemed very excited when she saw it!

I haven't done any sewing since the new year started, although I have been doing some crochet.  One of Ellen's friends just had a baby boy and I had started a little afghan for him.  It's about 36 x 36...not very big! Well, little Wyatt weighed in over 10 pounds, so by the time I finish it, he will be far too big to wrap up in it!  On to plan B....I think a baby quilt is in my future!

Another reason I haven't sewn is that my sewing room has been a dumping ground since Christmas.  It's going to take a bit of tidying up before I can find the top of my sewing table...I need to excavate down through layers of stuff!

So, my short list for now will stay very short...

1. Finish the crochet afghan,
2. quilt and bind my Gail Pan Christmas Quilt that didn't get finished for Christmas!
3. Finish my "birthday quilt" which will be going to Ellen once it's finished.  It needs more borders, quilting and binding.

But none of that can be done until I clean the sewing room....I'd better get to work!