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May Reads

15 Jun

All delightful reading!


With the end of my formal schooling I have been diving into books most of my spare moments! 🙂  This past month I have enjoyed some that I would deem excellent! 

  • Home Economics by Jennifer Trontz: I happened across this book from my library and wow what a gem!  It includes all sorts of helpful household tips and advice.  Everything from budgeting, laundry, cooking, making a home, and hobbies.  As I was reading it I just kept thinking wow this would make an excellent wedding gift!  I’d love to have one myself. 
  • Comforts from the Cross: Celebrating the Gospel One Day at a Timeby Elyse M. Fitzpatrick If you haven’t yet read something by Mrs. Fitzpatrick put it at the top of your to-do list.  God will use her to speak biblical truth and wisdom into your heart.  Her writing is amazing.  I read everything of hers I can get my hands on.  She is right there next to Elisabeth Elliot in how impactful she has been in my own life.  This book was like a Gospel booster shot.  Sometimes I have trouble practically reminding myself of the Gospel each day but this book is excellent!  It is broken down into 31 days with an entry that is only about 3-4 pages.  If you are pressed for time I would urge you to pick this book up!  No doubt this book can be read in a month’s time by just reading 5 minutes a day.  If you pick one book from my list to read may it be this one! 
  • Give Me This Mountain by Dr. Helen Roseveare.  This book tells the story of Helen Roseveare who was an amazing missionary doctor and author who lived in the Congo.  I loved how throughout this book the reader is allowed a glimpse into her own life.  It was nice for me to see a different side of her with her earlier struggles before becoming a missionary.  She almost failed medical school and was almost rejected by the mission board due to her pride.  I highly commend this book. 
  • More With Less Cookbook by Doris Longacre: This cookbook has really challenged the way that I think about food.  The whole premise of the book is to encourage people to eat better but eat less.  I have not yet tried many of the recipes but I am sure they are great.  We will be trying some next week.  My own mom use to cook out of this book so I was excited to get my hands on it. 🙂
  • Sewn by Hand:by Susan Wasinger: This book is filled with cute ideas of small projects to sew by hand.  Now if you know anything about me you know I love breaking out my sewing machine.  The book has excellent directions and step by step instructions for different stitches if you are new to hand sewing or embroidery.  We have a trip coming up this weekend so I think I may just be trying my hand at an Owie Puff boo-booo bag for Elijah.   
  • Large Family Logistics: by Kim Brenneman.  Okay so you might be thinking why in the world did I read a book about managing a large family.  Brandon and I desire to have a larger than normal (2 kids) sized family but I also think that many large families are super organized. They have to be!  This book was excellent.  I don’t think that very much of the book was specific to large families.  Instead it was filled with words of wisdom.  I felt like I was sitting in Mrs. Brenneman’s kitchen having tea as she encouraged me in my homemaking tasks.  My family has already been benefiting from many of the ideas that she shared.  🙂 

Easter Egg Wreath

30 Mar

The Easter Egg Wreath which adorns our front door. 🙂

A couple of weeks ago I saw this idea for an Easter wreath which wrapped plastic Easter eggs in yarn.  It’s been on my to do list ever since Valentine’s Day ended.  (I thought it was time for the Valentine’s Day Wreath to get packed away.)  I love how the Easter wreath  turned out but it did take forever!  Next time I’ll wrap the yarn while hanging out with friends.  🙂 

I used about 2 1/2 dozen large plastic eggs and about 2 dozen small eggs. It did take about 4 skeins of yarn.

I used a glue gun to attach the yarn to the egg in the beginning and then wrapped haphazardly.  (I tried wrapping one nice and neat but it didn’t turn out too great.)  Instead of yarn or ribbon I used an old leather purse strap that I had been saving to hang the wreath.  Overall I like the wreath fairly well.  The colors are definitely me.  Reminiscent of my college and seminary dorm room I think.  🙂 It is a great way to use up yarn if you have too much in your stash.  😉

Ants Be Gone!

24 Mar

Grab some borax, brown sugar, hot water and paper towels. The ant war has begun!

Probably the only thing I dislike about springtime is the unwanted ants who think my home is such a great place to live.  A couple of years ago I came across an easy, cheap way to get rid of them without the chemical fumes.  (I’m super sensitive to ant killers.)  Try it yourself and in 2 days I am sure they will all be gone!  (If you aren’t familiar with Borax it is a laundry booster and can usually be found on the bottom or top shelf at the store. 

  • Boil 1 cup of water.  Dissolve 1 T. borax and 1/2 c. brown sugar. 
  • Fold a couple of paper towels and using tongs dip it into the solution. 
  • Place in shallow dishes wherever you have seen ants.   The ants will take the poison back to their friends and share.  🙂
  • Make sure to remove the dishes while young children are present.  (I keep it out at night while we are sleeping two nights in a row and the ants are gone!) 

Their end is in sight.

Handstitched Felt Love Banner

12 Feb
The Love Banner

A couple of weeks  ago I saw this fun tutorial on making a Valentine’s Day banner.  I had decided last weekend that I was done making Valentine’s Day Decor after making a mantle banner and wreath. 🙂   Then the other day I happened upon it again and at Brandon’s encouragement I decided to make it.  What do you think?  My favorite part is the love birds.  😉  Unlike most of my projects this one did NOT require a sewing machine at all.  It is 100% hand stitched and was quite fun.  The tutorial for this is also quite good.  You can print off a pattern to use to cut out the pieces.  (This was great for me because I am quite the pattern gal.)  It even explains how to do the different stitches if you are new to embroidery.  Let me know if you decide to make one too! 🙂

Valentine Wreath

6 Feb

So simple yet so much fun!

Not only was this wreath lots of fun to make but it was easy.  🙂  For some reason wreaths have always intimidated me.  (This is only the second one I’ve ever made the first being n 4th grade.)  I wish I could say I came up with this idea but alas it is not mine.  If you would like to make one check out Our Best Bites for the tutorial.  Instead of the felt sheets I purchased 8 inches of 72″ felt by the yard in 3 colors which was on sale at JoAnns. I also used about 12 glue sticks so make sure to buy accordingly!  I purchased the foam wreath from JoAnns and since they came in white I didn’t have to paint it. 😉

Valentine’s Day Garland

5 Feb

Easy Valentine's Day Decor

Are you looking for an easy, inexpensive Valentine’s Day craft to decorate your home?  Try your hand at this simple banner made from scrap fabric.  I made mine out of woven cotton scraps but it would be even easier to make out of felt since felt does not fray.  You will need the following:

  • 2/3 yard of background fabric (pink swirl)
  • 14″ X 9″ rectangular scrap of fabric or purchase 1/8 yard of solid fabric for lettering
  • 14″ X 9″ rectangular scrap of interfacing or purchase 1/8 yard
  • 2 1/2 yards of ribbon, string or rick rack

Either draw or print out the letters L O V E. Mine are about 4" high. Pin them to your solid fabric and interfacing and cut out.

Take your background fabric and fold it so that it is longer.  (If you purchased your fabric this will be the opposite way that it is currently folded.)  Along the fold cut out 6 rectangles 5″ X 8″.  You can either leave them square along the short side or make them pointed like mine. 

If you are using a woven cotton fabric you will need to turn under all of the sides 1/4". If you use felt you can skip this step.

This is what it should look like when you are finished sewing the edges. Press with a hot iron. Fold in half and press again.

Iron the interfacing to each letter. Then center the letter onto the front side of the background fabric. Using a small zig zag stitch sew right along the edge.

Take your ribbon and sew the first pendant on at 16″.  This will give you plenty of length to tie the banner to something.  Then sew each of the other consecutive letters 6″ apart. 

Hang up and enjoy your lovely Valentine's Day decor.

Sew a Birthday Banner

27 Dec
The Birthday Banner-A New Tradition

In preparation for Eli’s birthday I really thought about what kinds of birthday traditions we would like to incorporate for our children.  Growing up we had a special birthday tablecloth that adorned our table for each and every birthday.  I wanted birthdays to be fun and special yet simplistic.  Hence the birthday banner was born.  I think it is pretty fun and I am sure it will be a part of each and every birthday celebration for years to come.

Notice the birthday banner in the background. What a great alternative to crepe paper!

To Sew Your Own Birthday Banner:

Supplies: 2 packages of Wright's Double Fold Bias Tape, scrap fabric (I am guessing about 2-3 yards?), Triangle Pattern

I also made a triangle pattern out of a piece of cardstock.  I liked the look of uniform size pieces.  One of the fabrics was also part of a sheet that I had used on 2 other projects so this made it a lot easier to cut out. 🙂  Note: I doubled my triangles (sewed 2 together) so that I could also hang the triangles across a room and not just along a wall.  I think I ended up cutting out 52 triangles in all.  (I cut them out 4 at a time so it didn’t take very long.)

I decided to finish the edges of the triangles since I plan on having the banner for a long time. It will eventually get dirty and need to be washed. 🙂 I serged around the edges but you could also zig zag of use pinking shears. You do not have to serge the short side of the triangle as it will be iniside the bias tape.

Decide if you want to do a pattern (like I did) or randomly. Place them in order and you are ready to sew.

Open up the bias tape and place the edge of the triangle inside. Sew on top of the bias tape.

Hang up your banner and enjoy! You can make the banner any length. Mine is 6 yards long (18 ft.).