The Tunic Bible and an Orange Shift Dress

Hey, Vi… look what I got!

The Tunic Bible: One Pattern, Interchangeable Pieces, Ready-to-Wear Results. by Sarah Gunn and Julie Starr

Here’s the back-of-the-book blurb:

The only tunic pattern you’ll ever need. Create chic, ready-to-wear tunics with a multi-length, graded pattern and expert construction tips. Choose your style–casual, preppy, boho, or glamorous – with interchangeable sleeves, neck plackets, and collars. Get advice on shopping for fabric and trims, guided by a huge gallery of inspiring tunics.

I can attest to the fact that everything they say in this blurb is true. The instructions are easy peasy to follow, and there are dozens and dozens of pictures of different tunics, along with a description and fabric used.

In the mood to sew, I rummaged around in my stash and came up with this orange stripe quilting cotton by Robert Kaufman.

I don’t know why I bought it, to be honest. What was I thinking?

I remember buying it on a dreary rainy winter day. I remember holding it up to myself and feeling happy. But really, an orange dress???

Well, as my mom said, I could always wear it on Halloween, lol!

Happily, it turned out great! I feel happy in this cheerful pumpkin and cream shift dress. I don’t feel like trick-or-treating at all!

For my first tunic, I chose the  “Outside Facing V-Neck Placket,” and made it a bit longer so I could wear it as a shift dress.

A shift dress is far from the most flattering garment. But it is my absolute favourite for comfort.  I could wear a shift dress every single day, especially during the summer when it gets so bloody hot.

You can MOVE in a shift dress.

With all the orange stripes, I was worried I’d look like an escaped prisoner, so I wanted to do something creative to break up all the vertical lines. Cutting the placket and the bottom band on the horizontal was an easy fix.

The best and most important thing I can say about The Tunic Bible is that this pattern fit me with no alterations. None. Zero. Zip. This is the dress straight off the pattern. I know! That never ever happens. Not to me, anyway.

The only change I would make next time is maybe to raise the bottom of the armscye as it’s a bit low on me. But not dangerously low…no fear of flashing or anything like that. And actually, when it’s really really hot in July and August, that extra ventilation might just be welcome.

I predict many tunics in my future. I want to make the maxi-dress version, and a hip-length one with fabulous trim around the neck. Oh! and the ruffled version! Yummy!

The Tunic Bible gets five stars!

Goodreads and a Book Review: Pines by Blake Crouch

Dear Vi,

I joined Goodreads. I mean to use it as a way of keeping track of the books I’ve read. I’m so terrible at remembering titles and authors … maybe this will help.

Or maybe it will just be another social media chore that I’ll neglect. Like Instagram, which I joined but never remember to check. Ditto Twitter. And FaceBook.

Anyway, I just finished reading Pines by Blake Crouch. This is a ZERO SPOILER review. You’re welcome.

Here’s the back-of-the-book blurb:

Secret service agent Ethan Burke arrives in Wayward Pines, Idaho, with a clear mission: locate and recover two federal agents who went missing in the bucolic town one month earlier. But within minutes of his arrival, Ethan is involved in a violent accident. He comes to in a hospital, with no ID, no cell phone, and no briefcase. The medical staff seems friendly enough, but something feels…off. As the days pass, Ethan’s investigation into the disappearance of his colleagues turns up more questions than answers. Why can’t he get any phone calls through to his wife and son in the outside world? Why doesn’t anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what is the purpose of the electrified fences surrounding the town? Are they meant to keep the residents in? Or something else out? Each step closer to the truth takes Ethan further from the world he thought he knew, from the man he thought he was, until he must face a horrifying fact—he may never get out of Wayward Pines alive.

What did I think?

I loved the premise and the mystery kept me turning the pages, so in that sense the book was a success. However, in the end, when I read the last line and closed the book, I felt vaguely disappointed. I had been unable to suspend my disbelief enough to truly get lost in the pages.

In my opinion, this could have been an outstanding work of science fiction – truly epic. Perhaps the sequels will fill in some of the blanks and go into the depth the topic begs for.

I gave it three stars on Goodreads (I liked it). Have you read it? What did you think?

Do you use Goodreads?

 

Query Blurb for Holding Space

Dear Vi,

I’ve been climbing steadily and have finally reached the top of Procrastination Mountain.  I’m clinging onto it like a barnacle.

I’ve spent countless hours on the internet and read countless articles and blog posts on the Dos and Don’ts of writing a query letter. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there, let me tell ya. So much conflicting advice, in fact, that I’m inclined to just ignore most of it.

What does the query blurb have to do? Well, it has to accurately capture the gist of the story, it has to be professional, it has to be tight. It has to make you Want. To. Read. The. Book.

And the entire query letter – blurb and all – has to fit on one page.

Eee gads.

Well, yesterday I finally wrote something that feels like it’s getting close. In fact, it’s your lucky day, Vi, because I’m going to share it with you!

Here it is, in block quote format:

On May 18 at 1030 Coordinated Universal Time, nearly every person on Earth disappears.

In Winnipeg, battle-scarred Canadian Forces veteran Kat Russo is fighting PTSD while trying to rebuild her life after the death of her lover. When humanity vanishes before her eyes, she falls back on her military training and embarks on a cross-country search for survivors and, ultimately, for herself.

In Vancouver, Dr. Maria Zhou is the brilliant but pampered only daughter of immigrant parents, and the youngest staff member at the University of British Columbia’s Quantum Matter Institute.  When the unimaginable happens, she finds hope in the unlikeliest of places while attempting to formulate a hypothesis to explain the mysterious event.

On the remote west coast of British Columbia, aging artist Noella Harris takes refuge at the Seal Island Lightstation. Alternating between hope and despair, she figures out how to start the lighthouse’s big diesel generators and begins broadcasting messages over the station’s radio beacon in hopes of saving her sanity – and any remnants of humanity that may be listening.

What would you do if you found yourself suddenly, achingly alone? Holding Space isn’t the story of what happens; it’s the story of what happens next.

Holding Space is a character-driven work of science fiction set in the initial weeks following the disappearance and told through alternating points of view. Complete at 81,000 words, it touches on the themes of grief, loss, family, and the unexpected sweetness of reunion. It would appeal to those who enjoyed Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel and Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.

Okay! There you go. It isn’t polished up to a glossy shine just yet, but it’s getting there. I’m going to sit on it for another day or so and then look at it again.

As always, your thoughts are welcome.