Author Archives: heathercase

The Secret Keeper – Book Review

imagesDuring a summer party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is happily dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and watches as her mother speaks to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime. A crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy—her vivacious, loving, nearly perfect mother.

Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress living in London. The family is gathering at Greenacres farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday. Realizing that this may be her last chance, Laurel searches for answers to the questions that still haunt her from that long-ago day, answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past.

Dorothy’s story takes the reader from pre–WWII England through the blitz, to the ’60s and beyond. It is the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds—Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy—who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined. The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams and the unexpected consequences they sometimes bring. It is an unforgettable story of lovers and friends, deception and passion that is told—in Morton’s signature style—against a backdrop of events that changed the world.

My thoughts on The Secret Keeper – What can I say? What can I say? This was my first Kate Morton novel and I am in like. Here is a time weaving tale of mystery and intrigue. I didn’t see the massive plot twist coming. Well done! Well done!! SPELLBOUND.

I love to read a good historic novel that paints a realistic picture of the past and Morton does not disappoint. I felt like I was in wartime London. I remember thinking here is all this devastation going on around all these people and all the while there they are trying to maintain a semblance of everyday life. Going to work and clubs and restaurants, not knowing if they would make it through the next air raid at night. CAN YOU IMAGINE??

Her characters are so realistic and reflective of many of people’s personality’s. Her first person accounts for each character in turn make you identify with their feelings and ambitions and you easily fall in and out of like with some of them.

Take Dolly for instance. A day-dreaming and over-imaginative person who only thinks of how to get ahead. At a time like that! It’s funny and awesome that you can start out really liking her and then realize chapter after chapter that she’s actually a spoiled asshole.

I loved the mystery surrounding Vivien. Even though you know there is more to her than meets the eye (or page) until her story starts to come through she is a bit of an inigma. I enjoyed the bitter sweet ending too. Not all those who love win in the end.

What I didn’t like –  This was my second attempt at a Kate Morton novel. I have to admit if I didn’t start the book on CD in my car on my commute to work I might not have kept at it. Her writing doesn’t grab you right off the bat. I find that you have to read for a long time before the stories start to come together. I’m reading The Forgotten Garden now and having the same struggle but I hope it will be worth the wait.

Why I Recommend It – If you like historical drama and mystery you will like Kate Morton. There’s no fluff.

Check out this cool video with Kate Morton discussing The Secret Keeper and her inspirations for the book!

About the Author – https://katemorton.com

 

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DIY Summer Kimono

 Kimono
Hey there! Welcome to my very first sewing tutorial! Please bear with me. I am a designer and a writer but I have yet to put the two together.

Here we have the finished “kimono” top. Let’s use the word kimono lightly because in actuality it won’t be worn like a true kimono but the basics are there. This tutorial is for the brave and the strong! I’m only kidding it’s for the beginner sewer. If you can wield a sewing machine you can make this top. It’s essentially a folded piece of fabric with shortish sleeves cut into it.

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Materials: 1 metre long piece of fabric. The length of your kimono is going to be determined by the width it is sold by. This piece is about 60″ wide and then folded in half. The best fabrics for this design are anything lightweight and flowy. I’m using a lightweight rayon but chiffon, satin and silk are good fabrics for this project too. I am actually thinking about repurposing an old sarong for this design as well.

Tools: –pins
fabric scissors
-sewing machine
-tailor’s chalk
-ruler

Step One: On your cutting table, kitchen table, living room floor (ok not recommended but I’ve been there). Lay out one metre of your chosen fabric. That’s 100cm or if you’re an imperial fan 40″. Fold the piece of fabric in half with the right sides together and the selvage edges at the bottom toward you. This is the hem of your kimono top.

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The above photo with the pin is a good example of what a selvage edge looks like. It’s the sometimes slightly frayed side with the little holes in it. I’ll be writing a post on fabric direction and why it is important soon!

Step 2: Measure down from the folded edge of the fabric 10″ and then square a line into the fabric 6″. Square another line from that point to the hem. Do this on both sides.

I personally like to use tailors chalk to mark my lines on my designs but you can also use a little bar of soap. Anything that washes off (obvi).

There are two ways you can proceed from here.

Step 3: You can cut along the 6″ line you’ve drawn, curving around the underarm and down the side, then pin the two layers together and sew. Or you can pin it and then sew along the line you’ve drawn making sure to curve around the underarm seam and down to the bottom edge. Then cut the fabric out after. Whichever is easier for you. If you are fairly new to sewing I would recommend the later. These types of fabrics are hard to keep stabilized.

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Step 4: Measure from one edge of the sleeve hem to the other and find the centre measurement (should be roughly 20″). Do the same along the hem (should be about 14″).

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Step 5: Cut that centre line through the TOP LAYER ONLY! Do not cut through both layers. This is the front opening for your kimono top.

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Voila! Technically you could be done. If you are a stickler or you just want to sew some more or you would like to properly finish the top, fold and stitch a half inch hem all the way around the bottom and neck opening and around each of the sleeve hems too.

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If you would like to adjust the size of your kimono top you can go wider, pretty much as wide as you like, but it’s tough to go longer. The length of the kimono depends on the width of your original piece of fabric. Different fabrics are sold in different widths by the metre/yard depending on where you buy them.

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If you like this one you can buy it here on my etsy shop!

I tested out a couple of DIY kimono top tutorials before making my own.

http://www.brit.co/diy-kimono-tutorial – this is a simple kimono tutorial with minimal sewing (like this one) and a nice silhouette

http://www.elleapparelblog.com/2013/09/kimono-cool-tutorial – this one is pretty intermediate. There are too many pieces involved for a simple top. It’s more like an oversized shirt but the effect is nice.

 

Glass Sword – Book Review

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If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

My Thoughts on Glass Sword – No just no.

This book was so disappointing and if I hadn’t been stuck in the woods in the rain for three days I probably would have returned it to the library post-haste. But I needed something to read and this is the only book I took with me. I honestly enjoyed reading the ingredient list on a package of hotdogs more than this.

After being slightly disappointed with the first book Red Queen I was really hoping that Aveyard was going to get better with her writing and telling this story. But the premise is just too unoriginal. It got worse.

The characters are bland and forgettable. It’s a jumbled up mess trying to mimic Divergent, Hunger Games and X-men. She even mentions factions and throws in a Walking Dead comment. Does that entice readers?

It was a boring and predictable read and it was hard to follow. There are lengthy descriptions of places and directions that are just too confusing. It’s repetitive enough that it puts you into a coma. The main character has no depth. It’s just her whining about being special and confused all time. Who does she love? Cal? Maven? Kilorn? Her mother? I don’t know. And why is she 17-years-old calling 15 to 17-year-olds children? It’s just weird.

I won’t read the third instalment of this series. It also scares me that she’s come out with spin off novellas.

About the Author – Victoria Aveyard is an young adult and fantasy writer from United States. She is known for her fantasy work Red Queen, which is going to be adapted into a movie. Aveyard wrote the novel a year after graduating from University of Southern California‘s screenwriting program in 2012. Sony Pictures teamed up with her to write spec Eternal
She tries her best to combine her love of history, explosions, and butt-kicking heroines in her writing. Her hobbies include the impossible task of predicting what happens next in A Song of Ice and Fire, road trips, and burning through Netflix.

http://victoriaaveyard.blogspot.in/

https://twitter.com/VictoriaAveyard?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

https://www.facebook.com/victoriaaveyard

Denim Shirt Dress

I’ve been loving the denim look I’ve been seeing everywhere lately. Last summer I grabbed a few metres of this lightweight and slightly stretchy denim from the remnant bin at Fabricland and held on to it like a small child clings to a blanket. Just kidding! But I did mull it over for awhile. What was I going to make this pretty heathered fabric into? And voila! Denim shirt dress!

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I added a front patch pocket to give it a little detail. There is white top-stitching around the sleeve hem and pocket too. For the hem of the dress I added a little extra weight by doubling up a separate piece of fabric and binding it onto the hem. And then the white top-stitching again.

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I love the simplicity of this dress and I think it can be accessorized in so many different ways! A great belt some days? and maybe some big jewelry?! Yes please.

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I like the versatility of this dress for being wearable in different seasons. It will layer up nicely in the fall with some tights and a cardi.

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