Home    About    Tutorials    Recipes    Quilts    Quiet Books   

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

An Announcement...

It shouldn't take a tragedy to get my attention.

You see, I am a wife and mother first. The Lord has given me a wonderful husband and six precious children. I am so thankful for each one of them. 

However, our days are numbered and tomorrow is not promised to anyone. 

If today was your last day on this Earth, how would you have spent it? 
If today was the last day you had with one of your loved ones, what would you remember? 

I want to make memories, instead of making things. 

I want to read books to my toddlers instead of reading e-mails.
I want to paint tiny fingernails instead of snowmen and pumpkins and signs.

After all, my best artwork is made using sidewalk chalk and inspired by the ridiculous requests of giggling girls.

I have met many wonderful people through my etsy shop. I am honored they have allowed me to have a small part of special times in their lives and I was blessed to be able to run a successful shop for a season in my life. 

However, my customers can find other vendors to make their items. My children only have one mother. I am irreplaceable to them.

I have met many special friends through blogging. Women who have lifted me up in prayer or sent me e-mails to reach out in dark times. Women who have celebrated with me in times of great joy. I am so thankful for each one of them and hope to keep in touch. 

I am thankful for the inspiration of others from their own little corners of this big, crazy thing they call the world wide web. I hope that I have been a help to others in return. 

However, I want to fill my camera card with pictures of my five beautiful, silly girls and my handsome young man. (Yes, the boy is becoming a young man so much like his father these days.) There are plenty of bloggers out there. My children only have one mother. 

Oh, I will still do crafty projects. That is part of a creative outlet for me. Plus, my girls have a loooooong, ever growing list of things they want me to make for them. I don't want them to wait for their turn anymore. I want them to come first. 

If I make "things," I want to make things that will be remembered.

There is nothing wrong with selling on etsy or blogging. There are lots of people who can do it all with grace and ease. But I am in a season of my life where I am spread too thin and I need to prioritize. It just isn't working for me.

I have decided to close my shop and stop blogging. I will trust God with the rest because I feel this is what I need to do. I am so thankful for the support that I have been given from so many people over the past 5 years.

Time is precious. It is a gift that is not given to everyone. I want to try to make the most of it.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Bride in Store ~ A Book Review

Eliza Cantrell dreams of owning her own store and sets out for the West as a mail order bride. She is robbed on the train before she arrives and her intended groom is missing. Will Stanton, an aspiring doctor, assists his business partner's fiance but begins to have feelings for her while waiting for his return. Eliza and Will struggle to pursue their dreams, but will success bring true happiness?

No, the characters in this book are not perfect. They are flawed and floundering around for much of the book trying to make a way for themselves. It was so frustrating to read and then I realized that it is much like my own life at times. Also, success is not equivalent to happiness. It occurred to me that sometimes we need to step back and let God lead. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Also, as I was reading this book, some of the trials the characters faced in this book began to mirror real life. The death of one character was quite unexpected and Eliza was left with regrets that she did not reach out to this person and spend more time being a friend. Another tragic event occurred simultaneously with a similar situation in reality. The pastor's message and the discussion questions in the book helped me to deal with some of my feelings.

The important underlying messages in this book are not all spelled out for the reader. That is actually a good thing- it allows the reader to let it speak to their own heart and apply it to their own life. Also, it makes it more realistic because we can learn from our everyday lives in so many ways. The overall theme of trusting God with your present situation still tied everything together. This book is more than just a romance novel- you just need to read between the lines. I would definitely recommend this book to others.

I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

My Happy Pumpkin ~ A Book Review

I have been in a fall sort of mood lately! For the last few weeks I have been busy creating lots of fall home decor items for the shop and anticipating the start of school this week (HOORAY!) So maybe that is part of the reason I jumped at the chance to review a fall themed children's book.

My Happy Pumpkin: God's Love Shining Through Me by Crystal Bowman is a shaped board book with a nice, fall message for young children. The rhyming words were easy for my 3yo to pick up quickly, but she also enjoyed the illustrations and tried to make up her own version of what the people in the pictures might say.

The pictures were bright and fun with cute, cartoon style illustrations. As far as the content, I appreciated that the Christian spin on a traditional jack-o-lantern for a seasonal book that is not scary for little kids. The only thing I did not like about this book is the shape. It makes it incompatible with my bookshelf. Yes, I am probably a bit OCD, but I am being honest. Of course, there were no sharp corners to cause injury when my youngest two children began to fight over the book. So then again...

I recieved this book courtesy of BookLookBloggers in exchange for this review.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Your Family in Pictures ~ A Book Review

I chose to review a photography book because I am working to improve my own family photos. That last first birthday and now my oldest entering high school have me scrambling to hold on to these fleeting childhood days. Let's face it- I am a sap with a camera here, people. Your Family in Pictures by Me Ra Koh is just what I was looking for.

I am still learning how to use my DSLR and struggling to get into manual mode. This book is suitable for point-and-shoot users, too, but I did pick up some helpful tips. She recommends a lower F-stop than I can get with my camera lens so that made me a little sad, but I still learned some new settings. That being said, I still have a long way to go...

This book has more than technical information. It also includes a lot of what pictures to take instead of just how to take them. Some of the "photo recipes" I am unable to try out right now, but there are some great ideas. I love that the book is about capturing special occasions and everyday moments. I haven't actually "staged" anything specific yet, but I did try some things to capture some memories.

This book is full of family photography inspiration and I would recommend it to others.

I recieved this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Pink Lemonade First Birthday

My last baby is one year old. 

Yeah, I am tearing up a little just typing that.

Anywho... let's move on now. Since it was our last (sniff, sniff) first birthday I went all out! I have always wanted to do a pink lemonade theme and these silly kids keep going and getting their own opinions about things. This was probably my last chance.

We don't usually go "all out" for birthdays. Just our family and some cake, ice cream, and snacks. A pack of balloons and a little crepe paper if I feel ambitious. This time I put a little extra effort into the decorations, but only because they will be used in her nursery, too. We have parties in our sunroom since it is a large, open area. We actually set up picnic tables outside this time, but I kept the food inside. I just hung some pink balloons and yellow crepe paper (the other kids insist on this) and put some silk daisy bunches that I got on clearance at Joann's and Michaels in some clear vases.

pink lemonade first birthday party

On the windowsill I arranged some pink and yellow items like her first dress (yellow) and her first hat (pink).

pink lemonade first birthday party

pink lemonade first birthday party

I also mod podged some frames I already had and printed out THIS free printable from Daisy Cottage Designs.

yellow honeycomb frame

pink and yellow frames

I painted some wooden signs, too, just 'cause I am on a sign kick for my etsy shop and felt like it.

pink lemonade sign

pink lemonade first birthday party

pink lemonade first birthday party
Yeah, I am totally redoing that one...

Oh, and each month I have been taking her picture in a washbasket, so I clipped those on the wash line that already hangs out in my sunroom.

For the food I found lemon and strawberry cake mix at the store so I did a batch of each in cupcakes. Of course, I added sprinkles. Gotta' have sprinkles! 

pink lemonade first birthday party

Of course, there was ice cream, pink lemonade, regular lemonade, and other goodies. I also made striped jello in lemon and strawberry.

The most labor intensive thing I did for Hannah's birthday party was to make her a romper. I have wanted to make her one for awhile now and this was a good reason. I got the fabric at Joann's and I actually bought a pdf pattern. I am not going to source the pattern because I was not very happy with it and do not think that it was worth the money. The final product was still pretty cute, though!

pink and yellow baby romper

pink and yellow baby romper

yellow ruffle

I think it is too big, so maybe she will get to wear it some early next summer. The ruffles should be higher, too. Well, I learned some things anyway...

pink and yellow baby romper

pink and yellow baby romper

Here it is compared to the very first thing I sewed for her

Oh, it is so tiny!!!

Excuse me. I am gonna go cry and eat some more of the leftover ice cream now.

 Link Parties where I sometimes hang out...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Rapunzel and Button Flowers Quiet Book Pages

Something old. Something new.

Rapunzel and Button Flowers Quiet Book Page

I did a button flower page on Grace's book HERE, but the Rapunzel page is new. Naomi really likes princesses, but ironically hates having her own hair brushed. I just thought of that now. Um. Oh well.

I saw the tower Rapunzel page idea on Pinterest- several different versions I mushed together so no specific link.  I used cotton yarn to make the hair and stitched it onto the background (a scrap of darker brown fused onto the blue backing.) Then, I fused the tower and the roof onto the page and used a zig zag stitch all the way around- especially the window.

Rapunzel Tower Quiet Book Page

I sewed a strip of green to the bottom to make some grass and add some dimension.

Rapunzel Tower Quiet Book Page

The tree makes a nice little storage pocket. I fused and zig zagged the trunk onto the edge, then made a treetop pocket to hold all of the little hair clips and some more ribbons.

Rapunzel Tower Quiet Book Page

The button flower page is just about the same as the last one, but I got lazy and skipped the leaves and only made three flowers. 
Button Flowers Fabric Quiet Book

Button Flowers Fabric Quiet Book

They are still reversible.

Button Flowers Fabric Quiet Book

So that wraps things up! I plan on making another quiet book very soon and I have some cute ideas for that one. Thanks for reading along and if you want to see the rest of the pages in the series you can click HERE.

Rapunzel and Button Flowers Quiet Book Page

 Link Parties where I sometimes hang out...

You can see the rest of Naomi's quiet book here:

Grace's quiet book can be seen here:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New and Improved Zucchini Alfredo

We are continuing "Zucchini Week" here and so far it is going well! I am still freezing more than we can eat, but it will be good in casseroles and zucchini bread this winter. Tonight we had sausage, potato, and zucchini packets on the grill, but last night my husband wanted my new and improved version of zucchini alfredo. The original recipe is HERE, but we like this one better. It is creamier and the texture is better with the addition of some pasta. If you are going for low carb, use the other one.

New and Improved Zucchini Alfredo

1 lb. penne pasta, cooked and drained
8 cups thinly sliced zucchini
2 cloves garlic
1 stick butter
2 cups milk
8 oz. cream cheese
6 oz. bag shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella
1 tsp. salt

Saute the zucchini in butter with minced or pressed garlic cloves until soft, but not mushy. Meanwhile, melt cream cheese with milk in a medium saucepan. Stir in parmesan and mozzarella. Add salt. When the sauce is creamy, combine with the cooked pasta and zucchini. Heat thoroughly and serve.