Sunday, October 23, 2011

Epic series!

The Great Hunt (Wheel of Time, #2)The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars is more accurate.
Good grief! I had such a hard time putting this book down. Which didn't bode well for my sleep since it's almost 600 pages long. You wonder (at least I did) when you first start reading this series, knowing it's an epically long series - how can Jordan stretch this story out over that many novels and still make it interesting? By being inhumanly talented as an author and storyteller, that's how.
The short of it? The plot thickens! Duh duh duh! :)

View all my reviews

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A powerful story of human connection

The Only Alien on the PlanetThe Only Alien on the Planet by Kristen D. Randle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was published in 1996, so too long ago for "The Crooked Word" to review it. So I'll just post it here :)

This was a book club read. I thought at first it was going to be your normal high school drama, but was so pleasantly surprised that it pretty much ignored most of that. What a beautifully written story of.... how do I even describe it? It's a powerful story of human connections. There you go. And it is so perfectly realized! It slowly draws you in, and then before you know it, you cannot put it down until you find out what happens! But, even beyond wanting to know what will happen is just the desire to spend as much time with these characters as possible. They feel so real and fleshed out.
I highly recommend this book to anyone!

The Speed of Dark

Doesn't the title alone intrigue you? It did me!Click here to read my review at "The Crooked Word" about this insightful and moving novel told from the point of view of a functionally autistic man offered a "cure."

Can't decide what book to read next?

Have you ever just picked up a book at the library or book store, hoping from the cover and summary you'll like it, and end up hating it?Well, lucky you! My good friend and author, Rebecca McKinnon, has started a book review blog and I'm one of a handful of reviewers on there! So, now my full reviews will be posted there, but I'll try to link up to it from here.
The best thing is that all the reviewers have different tastes and so at one stop you can see what's come out recently (we try to keep it to books published withing the last few years), and if it's any good. Then every friday one of us will highlight a book that's been out for a while, but is worth checking out.
So, head on over to  and check us out!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

1st attempt at reupholstery and some helpful hints!

Well, I've finally completed it! I was hoping to post the before picks (I did actually take them), but our hard drive crashed and now they're gone :( My hubby is slowly getting pics off the old hard drive, but I wanted to put this up without waiting too long.

Anyhow, it was a pretty ambitious project, I have to say, for a first attempt. And although there are things that are a little shoddy, I've learned from them, and you can't see them right away either.

I got this material a while ago at a design fabric store that was closing their location and I lucked out and only paid 30% of the price. Not 30% off, I paid 30%! Don't we all live for deals like that? :) I was originally going to paint it to look like grain sacks, but then I thought, what if I hate that in 5/10 years? So, I'm going to put the more trendy stuff on the pillow I'll be doing next. If I could easily afford another chair, I would just go for it, but for us cheapskates ... :)

Anyhow, here's the final product - Voila!

I did manage to get a picture of a piece of fabric that came off it (just imagine the whole thing in this with really shiny legs):

And, yes, the whole thing was that dirty.

So, there are a lot of tutorials on this topic out there in blogland. The gist of it is take lots of pics/videos/notes and pay attention while you're taking it apart.

But, here are some things I learned (from many mistakes) that I haven't really seen in a lot of tutorials that I've read....

1. So you're using the old pieces as patterns to cut out the new ones? Good for you - make sure to cut them AT LEAST an inch bigger! Especially if there are curves on your chair. You can (and will) cut off excess after it's stapled on.

2. Along the same lines, if there are little cutouts in the old material, wait to cut them out until you start putting it on the chair and you can see EXACTLY where it should go.

3. Be careful with larger weave material, it's going to fray a LOT easier! Just plan that and maybe cut just a little more than that extra inch. And get some seam sealer!

4. Even if you think the seams will not show (when sewing the welting or cushion), don't use contrasting thread. It sounds super obvious, but I didn't think it would show, that's what was in my sewing machine and I lazily didn't want to change it. But, when I sit it pulls the material away just enough to see the black thread. Classy :)

5. To take the staples out, I ended up using a phillips screwdriver and needlenose plyers. I loosened them with the screwdriver first (as many in a row as I could), then went along with the plyers.

6. Number the pieces as they come off and write on the old material. Also, draw which direction faces up, front, etc.

7. If you decide to do nailhead trim - way to be ambitious! :) These are actually not to bad (not nearly the love/hate relationship I had with the curve-ease). If you start hammering it in and the head isn't exactly in line, you can gently hammer at an angle until it is in line.  I didn't use a marker (I didn't want it to show up), but if you have one of those fabric markers that dissapear, just draw a straight line.

The bottom line wasn't too hard, but if you do a second one, or the first one isn't directly along the bottom, here's what I did:

Measure between the two lines, then go out 8-10 spaces and measure the height difference and put that in, then you can visually check the line as you further along.

But, you do have to be willing to take them out if it isn't working. Like, when I looked at the left-hand side and realized I actually wanted the right hand side,

And end up with a pile of unusable brads like this

To end up with the end-goal you want.

On the arms, they had used finishing nails or something to attach it (you have to put the material around the little insert and then connect it to the front of the chair. I didn't have access to one. So, I just used the brads to hold it in place.

I wanted to do the second row along the bottom to do something a little differently (I was inspired by a  chair on Restoration Hardware). Plus, because that first row was right in line with the bottom, you couldn't really tell. Here's a close up of the nailhead trim:

You also get a good look at the legs. I just sanded off the old stuff and got a sample-size paint at Home Depot (paint for $2.50? sure!) Then distressed it with sandpaper. Then lightly sanded over the rest of the paint as well to kind of blend it all together.

Overall, I'd say it turned out pretty darn good for a first attempt and all those blasted curves!

I knew for sure it was pretty good when my hubby (whom I married because I loved his willingness to be honest even when it would be easier to offer noncommital placations) tried to claim it as only his to sit on!

Linking up to:

freckled laundry

three boys