Thursday, August 21, 2014

Goodnight Ark by Laura Sassi Illustrated by Jane Chapman

Goodnight Ark
Written by Laura Sassi
Illustrated by Jane Chapman

Ahhh .....  the beloved ark and it's time for bed, or is it?    Noah is about ready to sleep but when a storm scares the animals, they come to Noah two by two to crowd into Noah's bed. The rhyming and fun familiarity of this story are endearing.  The illustration is well done and colorful.  I do wonder at there not being any Mrs. Noah, but I think the story works  well either way.  I do love the skunk portion, but I won't spoil the fun by sharing it all.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a children's book that is Biblically accurate, this is not it.  It takes a fun story idea and uses a Biblical story setting, but that is as far as it gets with truth.
The large size of the book makes it easy to see the pictures and read with one child or many.
As a fictional storybook, I would recommend it.  I would not recommend it as a book to introduce children to Biblical truth, because it is purely fictional.  Overall, I enjoyed the book and loved the illustrations.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Loving Kitchen by Leann Rice

The Loving Kitchen by Leann Rice
Published by Thomas Nelson

Open up this cookbook to find a bevy of wonderful recipes just waiting to be created in your kitchen.  Leann Rice has created a cookbook that any woman  can use to create wonderful home cooked meals reminiscent of your grandmother's cooking and a comfortable home.  The concept behind the recipe book is a grouping of comfortable recipes straight from the author/blogger's kitchen.  Ms. Rice includes such recipes as:  Creamed corn, fried chicken, oven-baked BBQ ribs, various sandwiches and soups, and berries and cream layer cake, and oh so much more!  I'm so excited about this book, because the recipes have easily attainable ingredients and are realistic for my family. 

Ms.. Rice also includes a section on reaching out and gathering in.  It's about showing love to your family and friends through your cooking.... The book also includes well done food photography, and as a photographer that is one of the first things I look at.  I only wish every recipe had a photo or that there was a photographic index of every recipe.  I know this book will be a staple in my home for the coming years.... I think I'll wear it out.... maybe I should have it spiral bound so that I can use it more handily... who knows.... I just know I'll be using it quite often.

This book was received from the publisher, and I was not required to give a positive review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Regency, a beginning

Every girl has her romantic side...  Ever since I was little I loved Victorian bustle dresses, medieval attire, and as an adult I've also come to appreciate the Regency Era after enjoying the 1995  BBC Pride and Prejudice series.  Now, I have never been much of a sewer.  I have tried a few things growing up, such as a pillow and as an adult peasant blouse and maybe a few things that I don't quite remember.  But my daughter has shown some interest in fashion design, so I bought a regency pattern from Sense and Sensibility, and have made her a regency girls dress, hat and pantaloons.  I do plan to do a pinafore sometime this summer as well.  I thought the sewing process would be good for her to watch and to do some of.  I did this with the hopes of making my own Regency era dress and underpinnings.  So  here are a couple of photos of the dress and pantaloons I made with Zoe's help (she sewed the straight pieces of the dress),  They aren't perfect, but they are the best that I have every done, and I hope a step to doing more.  BTW, I have been hand sewing a regency chemise for myself, and I'll post a photo of that later.  I should photograph the whole process but my house is so small and cluttered, so I haven't.

Here is the hat, which was completely hand sewn.

The fabric was purchased at a local quilt shop called Quilter's Candy Shoppe.  We don't have any regular local fabric shops, so we have to travel 70+ miles or order online.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Mark of Distinction by Jessica Dotta

Mark of Distinction

Price of Privilege Trilogy

Jessica Dotta

Tyndale Publishers

Mark of Distinction is the second book of the Price of Privilege trilogy, and we pick up the story of Julia (Elliston) Pierson after she has been rescued from her husband, Macy, by the Lord Pierson, whom she had discovered was her father. Julia struggles with her father's plans to introduce her to society and the illusion that they have created to protect her. She also has to beware of her past....

I found the book easy to read and hard to put down. I wanted to find out what was going to happen, which is great when I find a book that can keep me reading. Her characters are interesting. The plot keeps you wondering, and the characters are intriguing. I did have a major problem on how she does and doesn't present the truth of God's word in this book. It's lacking seriously. As a book marketed to Christian audiences, which would also have appeal to secular audiences, the author has a great opportunity to share the gospel and how it is affecting the main character (and it doesn't have to be blantant), but she fails in this. I hope that the final installment will tie things together and present a character who is convicted by the word of God to change and not just some imagined experience that seemed vague.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, and I am looking forward to reading the final book in the trilogy. I do hope that a proper gospel presentation to the mail character and response are developed in it.
One comment that I have (that really does not lend to the quality of the book) is that the cover image does not portray proper historical fashion. I would have loved to see a cover with that....
This book was provided by the publisher, I was not required to give a positive review, and all opinions are my own.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Baby Blanket

My sister-in-law is expecting a second daughter, and so I got inspired to weave a lightweight baby blanket.  It is primarily acrylic for ease of washing, but it does have a third of angora, alpaca, and wool  fibers.  It's rustic, but I love it, and wish I had made one to keep for photography.

Here is the warp.  It had a lot of wool fiber mixed in and each yarn was constantly catching its neighbor.  It was strong enough for the warp but that catchiness wasn't too pleasant.

I used a purple warp, and purple, variegated and cream yard for the weft.

I did have some booboos in it, but I decided not to go back and fix them, but instead leave them for a more rustic look. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Essential Atlas of the Bible

Essential Atlas of the Bible

Carl G. Rasmussen


Take a visual journey through Biblical history with this compact and concise atlas. It's 158 8x10” pages are packed with maps, photographs and illustrations that provide a thorough look at Biblical history. As you read you Bible, you can pull out this atlas to get a visual orientation on locations and people mentioned as you read. It also summarizes Biblical history and concurrent regional history in order to help you to get context for the passages being read.

I have found the atlas useful, especially as I have been reading I & II Chronicles. The charts made it easy for me to visualize the order of the kings of Israel and Judah mentioned in a linear fashion. The charts are colorful and relevant, the photographs are wonderful and the size of the book is great. It isn't overwhelming in size but handy enough to carry with my Bible and other study materials.
Overall, I would recommend this as a study tool, and enjoyed reading it.  I loved seeing photos of places I've been and have read about, and being able to study charts of historical events and people. 
I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to provide a positive review, and all opinions are my own.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Wedding Cake

Cake... I love cake, and I love trying to make creative cakes, although I am far from great at it.  I was asked by a friend to create a cake for a friends daughter's wedding.  I wasn't sure I could do it.  The theme was a rainforest.  I went ahead and said I could do it, but could I?
I searched online for ideas.. any where from to The Pink Cake Box.  I found two cakes from the Pink Cake Box that inspired me and I went from there.  So here is my first ever, probably only ever, wedding cake......

I spent the a couple of weeks working off and on gum paste flowers and butterflies. These two are my first, although I didn't use them for the cake, they were great starting flowers.

I started off by covering the cake board with Crisco, then wax paper, and finally modeling chocolate that I made at home.


Here is one of the tiers crumb coated.

I used the upside down cake icing  procedure, but even though It's great for clean edges, I had some trouble with it, and I think I need more practice, or just use it only under fondant.

Here is modeling chocolate before and after.

More cake icing.

Now on to stacking.

And finally decorating!
Here it is.

Here is my favorite butterfly.  I like the way it turned out.
I also love the calla lilies, and they are so easy to make, and they are so beautiful.

I also really like how the chocolate looked...!
The most exciting part was adding all the flowers and chocolate.  It really brought the cake to life.  Although Looking at the photo, it looks like the layers are uneven :(...  I should have used a level.... Well, live and learn.  I can't wait to hear what the bride thought of the cake.  She was  on a very low budget, and so had ordered a Walmart cake before her mom asked me, but we went ahead an did this cake.  She is going to be all caked out before her wedding is through!