December 28, 2013

Christmas Stockings

This was my biggest project for Christmas crafting. I saw this pattern for retro space age Christmas stockings on Pinterest and I knew I had to make them. I started the first stocking last year but never finished, so it was my goal this time to get them done. It wasn’t an expensive or difficult project, but it was time consuming. Mine aren’t perfect, but I think the end result was worth it and the kids love them! I let the boys choose which applique they wanted for their stocking and the colors, and opted to make a girly robot for River. I wish I had better photos, but my phone camera is all I have right now – we lost the cable for our nice camera and can’t find it anywhere. : (

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And here they are on the mantel:

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And yes, that’s a fourth stocking that we used to announce baby #4, and no, I didn’t make that one – definitely bought it. I look forward to making another matching stocking next year. There are a couple of letters that aren’t quite straight in the names. I may redo them, but that will be next year when I start the one for baby #4. I’m just counting this as a project that was finished in time (seriously, how often does that happen?) and it came out well considering it was the first time I’d ever attempted something like this.

Big thanks to Vanessa @ Tried & True for sharing her stocking patterns and free tutorial!

December 27, 2013

Christmas Wreaths on a Budget!

Christmas was busy! I meant to post this before Christmas – I even had it typed up and ready to go – but I forgot about it. Oops!

After Thanksgiving, I realized I needed to make two wreaths. No biggie, but it needed to be on a budget, so I removed the previous decorations off of my grapevine wreath (found at Goodwill a couple of years ago for $3) and foam wreath ($4 at Hobby Lobby. I hit up Hobby Lobby’s 50% off floral sale to buy a few new sprigs, but most of the supplies I already had on hand.

This grapevine wreath hangs on my front door. Sorry for the less-than-stellar pictures. My phone used to take great pics and now they all turn out blurry :(

This was inspired by a design I saw on Pinterest, so I can’t take all the credit. I thought the yarn wreath idea was cute and simple, so I dug out some white yarn from my stash and started wrapping! The red felt flowers were super easy to make. One square of felt, cut a spiral, wrap it into a flower shape, and pin or glue it. Since I tend to reuse my wreaths, I didn’t glue anything on to the yarn wreath – just a few pins to hold the flowers on. I hung it in my kitchen window with a wide aqua ribbon.

Easy and inexpensive wreaths for my budget. Make sure you take advantage of those craft store coupons!

December 15, 2013

Book Review: Starflower and Dragonwitch


I am SO far behind on reviewing these two books it’s not even funny. I requested them over the summer and read them right away, but I kept putting off the actual review. It’s not because I didn’t like the books. On the contrary, I LOVED them. But if I’m to be honest, I just don’t know how to write a review that will adequately express how awesome these two books are…the entire Goldstone Wood series is fantastic. It is by far my favorite new fantasy series and one I highly recommend to anyone who likes allegorical fiction. Let’s put it this way, I love The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis, The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R.Tolkien, and the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling. The Tales of Goldstone Wood takes 4th place in my Top Five favorite fantasy series, with the previously mentioned series occupying the first 3 spots.

Without further ado…

Starflower

From the winged city of Etalpalli to the slopes of Bald Mountain, from the fiery wrath of Hri Sora to the wily charms of Eanrin…I was drawn into the story from the beginning. When the Faerie Queen’s cousin is kidnapped, Sir Eanrin volunteers to find and return her. Little does he know the adventure and choices that await him on his departure from the Faerie realm. He comes across a mute girl who is being pursued by the Hounds of Death. He must choose to help her or continue on his way to rescue Lady Gleamdren. His choice determines the fates of many. Who is this girl? Silent, cursed, and fleeing from a dragon…but why?  And Hri Sora, a dragon of legend, is much more than what she seems.
Full of humor, suspense, and vivid imagery, Starflower is fantastic. Such a moving tale. 5 stars, hands down.

Dragonwitch

Dragonwitch introduces us to young Leta, who is contracted to marry the heir of the kingdom of Gaheris. However, she finds on her arrival that she is unwelcome and unloved. She finds one friend within the walls – the Chronicler who cares for the library – but he carries a secret that will shake the kingdom. A prophecy, an heir who is stricken with nightmares, a whispering crypt, and a goblin invasion throw the kingdom into chaos as Leta, Alistair, and the Chronicler struggle to find true strength against evil forces. Sir Eanrin and Lady Imraldera (characters in Starflower) return, and the ancient Legend of the Two Brothers proves to be much more than a legend. Simple Faerie tales are found to be very real, as we learn more about Hri Sora – who she was, who she is, what she is destined for, and the reason for her endless wrath against one of the Brothers. If the Dragonwitch can be defeated, who can do it, and how?
This was my favorite book in the series. Masterfully written. So many emotions! This one kept me up well past midnight – I couldn’t put it down until I was finished reading it. I wish there were more than 5 stars to give.

[My apologies to Bethany House for the delay in the reviews. These are my honest opinions and I received the books for free through their book review program.]

August 29, 2013

Book Review: Fortress of Mist

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“The throne is redeemed, but the battle is just beginning. ”

After conquering Magnus in The Orphan King, Thomas is now on the throne. Burdened with attaining the loyalty of powerful earls and nobles, Thomas is determined to discover just who his allies are. His reign so far is full of betrayal, lies, and hidden agendas. Who can he trust?  Fortress of Mist is full of mysterious figures, secret passageways, and disguises. I have to say, one of my favorite elements of these books is the concept of science – it’s not common knowledge so to most characters in the book,  it’s considered to be magic. It makes for interesting plot twists! The ending is a sad cliffhanger, so I hope the next book continues the storyline between Katherine and Thomas and reveals more about the Druidic secrets.

4 out of 5 stars! If you like medieval mysteries, this might be one you’ll want to pick up. Be sure to start at the beginning with The Orphan King!

(I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah via Blogging for Books. My opinion is my own.)

August 25, 2013

Bookworm

 

Whew! I finally finished reading the three books I requested way back when. Two of them are from Bethany House and one is from Waterbrook Multnomah through their Blogging for Books program.

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I had a hard time putting these books down! They were VERY good. Time to crank out the reviews!

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