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Happy Wednesday Smites!

While I'm beavering away on the final post for the Courting Sew Along, our colour class to start next week, the Big Woods pattern and the final instalment of Stop, Thief!, things are every so slightly bananas around the Fielke studio at present. I thought I'd give you a roundup of whats been occupying me outside of the obvious for the last few months.

The enforced sitting about from my surgery has meant I've had some time to read in big chunks instead of stolen moments. In May I've read - 

A Death in Diamonds by SJ Bennett

The royally brilliant fourth book in the Her Majesty the Queen Investigates series! 1957 - a young woman is found dead in a mews house a mile from Buckingham Palace, wearing only silk underwear and a diamond tiara. When someone very close to her is implicated, the young Queen is drawn into the investigation…

I have loved SJ Bennett's other books in this series, which is about the late Queen Elizabeth II. Our Liz not only is The Queen, she also solves crimes in her spare time. They're completely farcical and pretty funny, quick light reads and very endearing. This one is my least favourite in the series, which is to say that I still enjoyed it but it's a little slow. I would start from Book 1 if you're going to try this series. If you like The Thursday Murder Club, you will love these.

Snow Fall by Jørn Lier Horst

When the body of an Australian backpacker is found in Spain, an online group of amateur true crime sleuths springs up around the world, attempting to solve the mystery of her death. Foremost on the message boards is Astra, a young Norwegian woman whose feverish pursuit takes her closer than anyone else to solving the case. But just as she prepares to publicly unravel the mystery, she goes offline. No one in the group has heard from her since.

This one is a proper crime novel, much more serious than the other two mentioned here. None of them have any gore or are particularly scary though, despite me enjoying the gory and scary ones too :) William Wisting is the detective character in this novel, which is translated from the original Norwegian. There is a whole series of books, but I read this one having not read the others, as recommended by a friend. I didn’t have any trouble picking it up as a stand alone book. It’s a great read, I particularly like the author’s details of small things in the character’s day - it makes them seem real, and also adds a layer because you don’t know when one of the little details is actually a big important one. I will read more of the books in the series for sure.

and I'm just finishing off How to Solve Your Own Murder, by Kristen Perrin

In 1965, Frances Adams was told by a fortune teller that one day she'd be murdered. Frances spent the next 60 years trying to prevent the crime that would be her eventual demise. Of course, no one took her seriously - until she was dead. 

I do love a crime novel but I didn't actually realise that all three of the books I've read this month were crime related! It wasn't intentional. This one is my favourite of the three, being a kind of blend of the other two. 

This book is fun, fast paced, swings between serious and fun, and has the slight violets and book dust whiff of an Agatha Christie. A little vintage even though it’s set in the present day. I'm just under 100 pages from the end and I don't know who dunnit yet, which is always a good sign in a crime novel. Very much recommend this one!

Up next? A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles.

I’ve had the book in my TBR pile for ages, but Damian and I have been watching the TV series and loving it so much! Decided it was time to read it as the story is lovely and has really drawn me in. Which brings me to things I’ve been watching while stitching. A Gentleman in Moscow, obviously, which stars Ewan McGregor (yum!!)

The New Look, which I think is my favourite TV series for quite some time (besides Bridgerton of course).

Its about Christian Dior and how his fashion house was founded, and his very famous first collection that changed the face of post war fashion. I wasn’t even slightly interested in it as couture fashion isn’t one of my passions, but when I learned it was not only about Dior’s clothes but also his sister, who was taken to a Nazi concentration camp during the war, and Coco Chanel, who was a Nazi sympathiser and collaborator, my interest jumped back up! Aussie Ben Mendelsohn is Dior and as he’s one of my favourite actors that’s an added treat. I would watch this whole series again with no hesitation. Loved it.

And of course, the new season of Bridgerton.

Sigh. I went back and watched it all again from the beginning to make it last longer. Four more episodes coming in June. Colin Bridgerton back form his European tour may well prove to be the hunkiest of all the Bridgerton boys in my humble opinion. That hair! The open collars, and his long riding coat! Good lord. If you haven’t seen Bridgerton yet 




:D It’s like eating a whole packet of TimTams alone on a cold rainy day in front of the fire. Pure indulgence and froth, beautiful clothes and beautiful sets, handsome hunky men, delicious formal period romances, interspersed with faux modern music and over the top characters. This is Season 3 but theres Queen Charlotte as well, which is the queen from the same storyline but giving you her history. I say history loosely - this is NOT in any way historically accurate. Even a little bit!! A small warning though, if you’re easily offended - yes this is a period drama but its also RAUNCHY, there are lots of very sexy sex scenes (no full frontal nudity) so watch with discretion and its not for the kids. (Colin! Penelope! The carriage!)

And of course while I’ve been doing all this sitting and watching I’ve also been sewing and sewing. With Tula here and not feeling great I got a bit behind on my Stop, Thief! quilt, so I’ve been catching up on the border blocks so that I can put up the final post on June 15. When I have it ready I will post a picture for you, but for those that aren’t in the BOM we have just worked on the centre of the quilt, which looks like this:

I am going to Sisters for Quilters Affair (https://stitchinpost.com/pages/qa-home) and the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (https://www.soqs.org/) in just a few weeks, so I’ve been working on the fundraiser stitching for that. Each year the tutors are asked to make fabric postcards, which are then framed and auctioned to raise money to help the show. Here is my postcard for this year:

This year we are also having an evening to celebrate Freddy Moran, one of my quilting heroes, who has been a teacher at Quilters Affair for many years and also an exhibitor. I love Freddy, she is just an excellent human. The tutors have again been asked to help out by making self portraits in the Freddy style. I am just stitching the facing down on mine today and then it will be in the post ready for framing and sale on the night. I’m looking forward seeing the look on her sweet face when she realises what everyone has made.

Unfortunately all my classes at Quilters Affair are fully sold out with waiting lists, but if you’re thinking about coming to Sisters there are lots of other wonderful classes still with spots, and the show on Saturday is worth the trip in itself. Sisters is my absolute favourite quilting event and I teach there every year, put it on your bucket list - you won’t be sorry. And I know I will see a lot of you there!

I’m also working on finishing the project bag for my Sew Surfside retreat in August, its been somewhat shunted to the side with all the other things happening. I have two more panels to applique and then it’s done. It’s a lovely size to fit everything for a handwork project, and the pattern includes a matching needle book and scissor protector.

The top is going to close with koki clips and cord, which makes such a neat and cute finish for a bag! After this project has been taught at my retreat, my class at Waverly Patchworkers in Melbourne in September, my classes in the Netherlands and Germany in October, and again at Road to California in January 2025, I will release the pattern - but not before! Incentive to come along to a class near you and make it with me instead :)

Next week we will start our Colour Explorations… if you want to start getting ready, the first thing we’re going to do is work on a monochrome exploration, so you can decide what colour you might like to explore. I’m going to use green, but any colour will do. You will need as many different fabrics in that colour as you can pull together from your stash - scraps are fine, but you will want different shades of the colour. We will go into it in more detail next week, but if you want to start fiddling then you can!

See you on Wednesday.


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