What I’m Reading: Farm City

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I just finished up listening to the audio book Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter.


I had seen this book several different times via my on line library-I almost checked it out and then didn’t.  I find with non-fiction authors, I either love them or hate them.  I was a little leery about this book.  Then one day my MP3 player ran out of battery when I was sewing.  There I was…no book to listen to.  I grabbed my smart phone and decided that I’d go on the on line library and grab the first book that looked remotely interesting.  Well the first book that came up was Farm City…so Farm City it was.  I clicked download and was listening in just a few minutes.

I was pleasantly surprised…I really liked it.  Being it’s a memoir, it’s written in first person-a plus for me.  Novella is such a treat to listen too…I love that she knows she a little eccentric and just goes with it.

Here’s what Amazon had to say about it, “When Novella Carpenter–captivated by the idea of backyard self-sufficiency as the daughter of two back-to-the-earth hippies–moves to a ramshackle house in inner-city Oakland and discovers a weed-choked, garbage-strewn abandoned lot next door, she closes her eyes and pictures heirloom tomatoes, a beehive, and a chicken coop.

What starts out as a few egg-laying chickens leads to turkeys, geese, and ducks. And not long after, along came two 300-pound pigs. And no, these charming and eccentric animals aren’t pets. Novella is raising these animals for dinner.

An unforgettably charming memoir, full of hilarious moments, fascinating farmer’s tips, and a great deal of heart, Farm City offers a beautiful mediation on what we give up to live the way we do today..”

The book honestly was fun to read but I have to say a few things…if you don’t feel comfortable with someone explaining their feelings about raising their own meat, and reading the description of the killing process, you’ll hate this book.  She does it in a heartfelt way but still, it’s there.

I found myself laughing, smirking, and say “WOW” more than once.  The style of her writing it just fun.

When I was writing this blog post I learned that Novella has a blog.  You can see more about that here.

Amazon readers give the book 4.4 stars…I agree.  I’m off to see if my online library has any other books by her.


I am thankful for technology and my on-line library.  Books are such a huge part of my life.  They always have been.  I was so sad when life got busy and don’t always have time to read more than a chapter a night.  In the old days I was know to read until 2 am.  Not anymore….  Technology and my on-line library has allowed me to stay in touch with my love of books.  As much as I love my audio books and my Kindle, I still prefer reading a regular good old book in paper form…but I can’t always have that so I am thankful for anything that allows me stay close to books.  I have to say if I could only have one hobby, I think I just might pick books over quilting….I love books that much!!  Today I am thankful for the technology that lets me stay close to books.

Free Pattern: Stacking Bricks

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I got a note in my email this morning after this posted from Tina in N.J. regarding this post.  Tina said that Missouri Star Quilt Company has a video for a pattern similar to this and wondered if we were aware of it.  No we had no idea.  We had not seen the video.  We just wanted to use up some scrap and this design popped into my head….I ended up going and watching the video.  If you read through our instructions and watch their video, you can note that the size of blocks used and the construction of the quilt is entirely different-yet there are similar results.  So watch their video and print our instructions and see which method works best for you.

We have a new free baby quilt pattern for you.  This one is super easy and can be made with one charm pack plus a little extra yardage.  I know lots of you have one charm pack sitting around and waiting for inspiration…maybe our new free pattern is the inspiration you need.  I also know that many of you have a bin full of 2 1/2″ strips, this might be the pattern to help you use a few of them up.

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On Monday you’ll have to stop back here and see a project we have that’s being featured for Moda Bake Shop.  That project is made with two jelly rolls of Moda’s Rambling Rose-one of my favorite fabric lines ever!  After we were done with that quilt, we had some leftovers….I designed this simple quilt to use them up.

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Don’t be confused…you can make this baby quilt from jelly roll leftovers, a single charm pack or simply scraps that you have lying around.  We made this little cute baby quilt with the jelly roll left overs.  In the end, between the Moda Bake Shop quilt and this baby quilt, there wasn’t a single scrap left over.  I love no waste projects!!

With all of the house remodel, job changes and looming deadlines, I had a bout of insomnia one night.  I ended up getting up in the night and sewing.  I was up for about two hours and sewed the entire top and backing.  It was already cut out which made it go fast.  Once it was all together I went back to bed and slept for a couple hours.

The top is very simple construction just sewing the pieces into strips and then sewing the strips together.  In the back, I just used up every little bitsy sliver of fabric that was left over…making an almost reversible baby quilt.

It’s ends up being 37″ x 41″…don’t you love Betsy’s modeling work??

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The bitsy pieces were sewn together in one LONG snake and then cut into 46″ strips.  The strips were then sewn together.  There were a couple whole jelly roll strips that didn’t make it into the original quilt so I sewed them to the edge of bitsy pieces.  Then I had backing left over from the original quilt backing and sewed that to each side….simple but cute…and everything was used.

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I used my favorite quilting motif.  This one!

I use it all the time.  It’s my all time favorite.

So are you looking for the pattern to try your hand at making one.  Here’s the link to the free printable pattern to make this baby quilt.

This pattern is very versatile.  It could easily be switched up to make a boy quilt…I can see it done in solids-or with scrappy background pieces.  I can see it done with plaids too.  I am sure I’ll be making this again when I need a quick baby quilt.

Now I have the itch to make this big into a twin sized quilt….keep watching, it just might happen.

Today I am hooking up with Michelle’s Romantic Tangle,  Confessions of a Fabric AddictCrazy Mom Quilts, and Link a Finish Friday.

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