Monday, July 30, 2012

The Widow of Saunders Creek - Book Review

I was a little hesitant to read this book, as it seemed a little to scary for my usual tastes.  I  enjoy a good romantic, Christian novel and the description of this book seemed to have too much mystery for me.  However, this book did not disappoint me for my own requirements for a good book: romance and Christian, too and it was refreshing to read a little bit of mystery.

As a new widow, Corrie Saunders, was searching for a way to hold on to her hero husband, Jarrod, who died saving others from an Iraqi suicide bomber.  She seeks her husband at his family home, which he inherited in the Missouri Ozarks.  Many in the area feel that the house is haunted.

As Corrie renovates the family home, she finds a special interest in the strange presence she feels in the house.  Many in the area feel she should give the family home back to the Saunders family, but Corrie holds on to the only thing that makes her feel close to Jarrod.

Eli, Jarrod's cousin, feels he just can't live up to his cousin's hero legacy.  His own dream of joining the Army was dashed in an accident that occurred as a result of Jarrod as youngsters.  Eli always allowed Jarrod to be the hero.  As Eli works as the contractor on the Saunders home, he finds himself, again coming in second to Jarrod as he comes to care for Corrie.  Eli's faith in God, and his profession as a pastor, prevent him from believing the spirits in the Saunders' home are Jarrod.  Can he convince Corrie to believe that the spirits are not of God or Jarrod?

This was a wonderfully developed book by Tracey Bateman, and I highly recommend it, even if mystery is not your thing.  It has a little of everything, suspense, romance, and drama to keep you interested from cover to cover.  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my review of the book from Multnomah WaterBrook Press.

Please rank my review by going HERE.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jean Purse Tutorial

I thought I would share with you how I make Jean Purses from a pair of jeans.  These really turn out cute, but I pre warn you, you need to be prepared for no specific formula for the purses.  Here's what you will need:
  1. Pair of Jeans (I like to use somewhere around a size 10 boys or girls)
  2. Extra pocket from another pair of jeans
  3. 1/2 yard of coordinating material
  4. Thread
  5. Scrap of Pellon fusible webbing
  6. Snap or magnetic purse closure
  7. Sew machine 
 First, chop off the legs.  I like to do it a little below the crotch, just because it gives me a little breathing room.  I'll trim that off later.
 Sew a straight light across the bottom.  Sew a box seam (see the lining picture below for a better picture) on each corner.  I like to measure in 2 inches from the corner, and sew a perpendicular line to the side seam.  I've done almost 10 of these now, and each one takes it's own shape, so don't worry if it still looks a little more like jeans or a little more boxy.
 Here's what that box seem looks like on the out side, once the corners are pushed out.
 This is the inside of the box seam, after I trimmed the triangle off.  The lining will show the box seam with the corner still on it.
 Here's what the inside looks like right now.  Trim all the seams to 1/2 inch.
 Some of the jeans have floppy pockets in the front, so I often tack them down below the bottom seam so they stay in place and can be used.
 Here's my lining material.  This has no measurement - I just lay the purse on top of the material folded in half and sew 1/2 inch seams down the sides.
 Now for a look of that box seam without trimming.  I just fold the bottom seam to meet with the side seam, and then measure 2 inches from the tip of the triangle and sew the third side.  I obviously eyeball it, but you could use chalk to draw it on with a ruler first.  You would end up with a much straighter seam than I do, but I don't have the patience to do that.
 Next, I like to add a pocket on the inside of the purse, so I cut the pocket off another old pair of jeans.  I leave about an inch of extra material on the top, so I can sew across the top of it, without shutting the pocket.
 I press the extra material at the top down and leave about a 1/2 inch to sew across.
 Place the pocket on the right side of your liner where you want it.  Sometimes, finding the right pocket can take a few tries, because some are bigger or too small for what I'd like.  Sew around the pocket, on the seams and then across that extra 1/2 inch that you pressed.
 Next, add the pellon fusible webbing scrap to the middle of the WRONG side of the lining where you want to place your clasp.  This will make your material stiffer and stronger under the snap.
 I had these snaps on had, so I hand sewed them in place on the right sides of the lining only.  Also, be sure to fold the top edge of the lining down at least 1/2 inch to the wrong side.
 Cut the legs of the pants to the width and length that you want your purse to be.  I made these 3 inches wide and then just eye-balled the length to my daughter's shoulder.  I sewed two of these together.
 Then turn them right sides out and sew 1/8 inch down each side to finish the handles.
 Sew the handles on the inside of the purse.  I like to put the seams on the top of the jean seams on the waistband.
 Here's what it looks like when it's done.  The end will be hidden in the lining.
 Pin the lining to the inside of the purse with the wrong sides together.  Pin like crazy, matching the seams at the sides.  Sew down the top seam of the jeans at the waist to attach the lining.  I have also attached this on the bottom seam, too, it just depends on which has less bulk to it.  This is the most difficult part, because the machine sometimes can't take all the layers.  Don't worry about sewing over belt loops, just be sure everything is flat.
 Cut a piece of lining material long enough to go around the waistband (I've been lucky so far - the width of material off the bold has been just right.).  Cut it to be 4 inches wide and sew the RIGHT sides together to make a tube.  Reverse it so the right side is out.  Tuck the ends and sew them together.  This is the belt - just string it through and tie a knot or bow as you wish.
 You have made a purse!  Love how cute these work out.  I actually pick up girls jeans when I see them with   bling on them so I can match the lining to it!

I'd love to hear what you think.  If you use old holey jeans and scraps from your stash, this can be a free project to do!  I love that.  This purse went with my son to Japan as a gift for his host Mom.  Hope she enjoys! Please leave your feedback for my Tutorial and any questions.  Oh - check out those other blogs on the right column, too!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Enjoying the Bounty

Because we recently moved here and my gardener is out of the country, our garden didn't really seem to be well planned, or even like it was going to produce anything this year.  I've been out in the garden the last few weeks trying to battle all the weeds that naturally occur on the prairie.  Lo and behold, we have produce!

I thought I'd share, just to inspire you to get out there and do a little gardening.  Even if it's a few tomatoes in a pot - it's a great feeling to bring to the table your own bounty!  Not to mention, growing your own vegetables is healthier, too.

Pictured above, are garlic scapes (which I made into Garlic Scape Pesto from one of my favorite places to get recipes for fresh farm produce), radishes, kale , Bok Choy, onion scapes and spinach which were all put into a Veggie Fried Rice. It's very refreshing to eat from your own garden.

It's not too late to plant - don't forget those crops that you can add later in the season, like lettuce, spinach, and even radishes in the fall.  The Bok Choy is said to come back along with the spinach in the fall.

What is your bounty from your garden?  How do you enjoy it?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bunting Baby Quilt

I found a tutorial to make this baby quilt HERE, and just had to make it for my new niece.  I won't even repeat the instructions, since Cheryl at did such a wonderful job of telling you how to do it.  The only complaint I had for this quilt, were that it was a bit small compared to a quilt size.  I started to cut all the pieces out and got the binding made, and my daughter decided that she really wanted to make this.  Who am I to deny a 13 year old of a project?  So here is what she did - all by herself!She did such a wonderful job.  She makes me proud!

Please let me know what you think of my daughter's talent?  Also, be sure to check out those blogs that I love to link up to.  Oh, by the way, this didn't cost us anything, because I actually used materials that I had on hand!  I also made a matching bib and burp rag to go with it for the shower gift.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Fourth Fisherman - A Book Review

I was very excited to receive a hard cover copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah to review!  There is something wonderful about opening a brand new hard cover book that is just wonderful, don't you think?  On to the review - although I received a free book in exchange for my review, all opinions are mine.

I feel torn about this book.  The story of three Mexican fisherman who were lost in the Pacific Ocean for over nine months without any supplies, kept me on the edge of my seat to find out their survival story.  On the other hand, although, Joe Kissack's story of his coming to know the Lord and how he found this story was interesting, I found the two stories to not align very well.

I found it hard to compare the story of three men's survival and faith in God during a lost at sea story to one man's (Joe Kissack) personal endeavor to overcome his own self-induced addictions and loss in society.  To me, selfish life decisions on the author's part minimize the powerful story of survival and faith of these three Mexican Fisherman.  I wanted to know more details about the three fishermen's struggles and faith, a more deeper and intimate look at their struggles for that nine months of being stranded without food, water, or communication.  I wanted to feel their pain and know the actual biblical journey that got them through.

This book is not written with the most developed sentences and structure, so I found the entire story to be too simply written and not stimulating intellectually to read.  That all being said, I don't discount this book as a good read for those that are looking for a quick and easy read, yet motivating and  faith-filled. I rushed through my reading of this book, so that I could pass it on to Mr. Right immediately, because I knew that he would enjoy this story and find it a rewarding read.

I think this book could definitely be a great tool to help people come to know a deeper faith in God.  It would be excellent for the person that doesn't like to read or for the addict looking for motivation to turn to God during the hard times in life.  I highly encourage Christians to read this book and prayerfully pass it on to those who may need spiritual encouragement.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Take your own Family Portraits

Around the time that I had my fourth child, I decided that I was not happy with the way that professional photographers took family pictures.  Now, I know there are some very talented photographers out there, but I got sick of them trying to fit all of our family into the picture (Mr. Right is very tall, I am short, and the kids are everywhere in between) and get the kids to smile.  We'd always end up with unhappy looks on some one's faces or we would have an odd set up.  I'm sorry, I am a whole foot shorter than Mr. Right, so it doesn't look right to have me at the same level as him!

So, I started taking pictures of my kids myself.  Of course, I've had my fair share of disasters, but not anymore than the professional have.  Plus, I can wait until they are all in a good mood!

Of course, after my newest niece was born, I couldn't resist trying to get some good portraits of her, so I shot away.  This is my favorite:
What do you think?  It thing it's so adorable, but of course I could be a little partial!  Here are few of my tips for taking your own good family portraits:

  1. Make your whole family pose for a family photo (including yourself - use the self-timer) EVERYWHERE you go!  I have two reasons for this: 1) They get used to always posing for the group shot, so it's no big deal. 2) You have a ton of photos to choose from to use as that one great portrait.
  2. When you see a beautiful sight, grab one of your family members to just do shots of them.  They feel special, and again, you will often get just that right photo.
  3. Take lots of shots!  Close up, far away, from the side, even from behind (I love shots of the kids walking away hand-in-hand!)  I took at least 20 bad shots of the above to get that one good one.
  4. Study pictures that are taken by others and decide what you like about them.  Then emulate it.  I found the shot above on Pinterest by doing a search for baby photos.  
  5. Have fun with it!  Last summer, I took tons of pictures of everyone in the family, even Grandma, in those goofy signs that you put your face through at zoos and fairs, etc.  Everyone giggled every time they found one somewhere, because they knew it was coming... the big photo shoot!

Goofy signs - OK so these aren't the portraits for blowing up on your wall, but it was fun for the kids and I was able to easily make them stand next to a pretty flower since they endured could do this humiliation fun time!
Although, I am not a professional, I do get a ton of compliments on my photos.  I hope some of these tips can help you down the path and challenge of saving money, by taking your own family portraits.   Be sure to check out those blogs on the right column that I love to link up to.  What other tips do you have?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy Independence Day - A Hometown Celebration

Our first 4th of July Celebration in our new town and state, turned out to be one of the most fun and inexpensive we've ever had.  Usually we go camping, which isn't a really expensive way to go, but there is something about taking advantage of your hometown celebrations (whenever they may be.)Grangeville, ID has the oldest running rodeo over the Independence Day holiday in the state of Idaho.  You can go HERE to check it out.  There were many activities to go to for three days this last week (hence why I wasn't posting - we were too busy taking in everything!)
Each morning, there were foot races on the Main street.  Each age group would run and then the top three winners would get a cash prize.

The Preschool aged kids each got a $.50 piece just for running in the race!
After the foot race, there was a Mega Egg toss.  Thousands of eggs were passed out on main street and the final pair with their eggs also got a cash prize.

 Each afternoon, there was a parade, which of course, we had to attend.  We love all the horses and beautiful chaps!

The main event of the week was the rodeo each night!  We were so excited to take the kids for the first time, and it did not disappoint!  Best of all, the first night was Family Night where the entire family gets in to the rodeo for only $25!  What a great bargain for a family of 7!  It was a total of four hours long!
We were all impressed with the speed and grace of all the rodeo ladies!  Here are the Border Day Princesses speeding around the arena in the opening ceremonies.

You have to love the broncos and the bulls - I may post about them more, because I have some beautiful pictures of the night.  I especially loved the chaps!

And of course, what Independence Day wouldn't be complete with a fireworks show?  We went out of town and watched the fireworks from the prairie.  It really made our hearts swell with pride to know that we live in a country where we are free to follow our dreams of living in the West!

What about you?  How did you celebrate your freedom this week?