Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Yarn along and a Book review

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading (though not at the same time!), and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~

Ginny Sheller @ simple things 

I haven't joined Yarn along since last Fall! 
It's just been a tough season.
So glad to join everyone !

I just finished reading "in firefly valley" by Amanda Cabot. I read the first book in the Texas crossroads series " at bluebonnet Lake" and was glad I was chosen to get to review this one as well. This author has a writing style that I enjoy. I like realistic characters with a deep plot that I find myself asking questions about the details and wanting to find out what decision the characters will make morally. I find there is a balance in a Christian novel and don't like the authors faith to be overbearing and this author does a good job at it! Both of the books in this series had a romance thrown in for good measure as well. It was so entertaining that I read it in three days. If you are looking for a Christian novel I would recommend this Author. I will head over to Amazon to give this book five stars. Id like to thank Revel books for this review copy. This review is my opinion and I was in no way encouraged to give a positive review. 

I mentioned that I have recently become a grandmother and can't believe our little guy is three weeks old already. He is such a cutie and seems to be settling in rather nicely. That brings me to my next topic. I downloaded Jared Floods blanket "Bairn" to knit for our grandson. It has several different cables so not a pattern for a beginner. I had a hard time at the start but now that I am writing the rows down and have gone through the repeat a time or two I have got the hang of it. I love a pattern that has some details so I don't get bored. Anyhow, since we live in Florida he will get his blanket this Fall or Christmas. Thats code for, " I wasn't able to get it knit up in time for his birth!" 

lil G has had a virus/ cold and this photo was my happy thought for the day yesterday. Poor thing even had ulcers in her throat necessitating a Dr appointment to make sure it wasn't strep. This past winter she kept stealing my house slippers, I wear them all the time since we have tile floors and they are so hard on my joints. We bought her some slippers of her own but she still steals mine every chance she gets! I don't know why but it makes my heart happy hearing house slippers scuffling down the hall. 

I hope this finds you and yours enjoying the beautiful Spring weather.
Under His Wings,

Friday, May 1, 2015

Daily painting

Most of the time when I sit down to review a book I have limited time so I post reviews of multiple reviews on one post. Today I wanted to post a review of a book that arrived in the mail before Christmas. The book is only 182 pages including the index so not too overwhelming on first examination. It is soft back and a nice handheld size, but upon further examination I realized I had stumbled onto a real Gem. I wavered back and forth wondering if the author had tackled too many topics and chapters for one small book and wanting to just reach out and give her a hug. Seriously. If you've been reading my blog for long you know I'm an artist and that it's a real passion of mine. I just struggle with so many other things that come along if you really want to be successful at being a " real artist". Those things for me include, pricing my artwork, scheduling my painting time with a little one and not fearing the blank piece of paper. Last year I started the year off with a bang and was intentional about my art. But I let things get in the way and settled back into old habits. 

Some of the topics covered in this book are choosing materials, subject matter, art basics such as value and color mixing, composition, fighting artists block and finding community and selling your work. 

If you are an artist and need a boost I suggest purchasing this book. You won't be disappointed. Thank you to Blogging for Books and Watson Guptill for the opportunity to review this book. This is mmy humble opinion and I was in no way compensated for this review. 

Edited to add: I just found this review in my list of posts and never clicked post or shared my review on Amazon. I'm hoping someone still reading my blog will find this post and it will be just the book they need to add some umph into their art career. 

Since I am editing this post I thought I would throw in a photo or two.
This is our first grand baby. He is just so beautiful. I'm head over heels in love.

Here is our sweet Lil G. She's not so little anymore is she? She is leaving the hospital with her favorite guy...... She is an aunt. Life is good. Very very good.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A book review

You might enjoy hearing that our family has added the first Grand baby since I have blogged. A healthy baby boy was born last Tuesday and is healthy and doing well. There aren't words to describe the love I feel for this little guy. I can attest that I was the first grandchild on BOTH sides of our family so I was a blessed little girl indeed. I talked with my mother this afternoon and we discussed being grandmothers, something we now have in common. I can't wait for her to meet our little guy. He still smells like heaven.

Sadly my book review is a little overdue because of all of the excitement! I need to start marking my calendar to make sure I get these reviews posted on time! 
     So "The Legacy" is the fourth the book in the Restoration series written by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley. I was able to review the third book in the series, "The Desire", and was eager to get the copy of the last book to review. Sadly I didn't enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed The Desire.The adoption part of the story was finalized in this book and part of what I enjoyed in "the desire" I think more detail could have been given and maybe even some of the bonding process could have seemed more realistic. It seemed very glossed over and was hard for me to read since it was such an emotional process for us as adoptive parents. When you have adopted a child there are so many misconceptions you have to deal with that I feel it's sad for a Christian novel to only further gloss over the details. 
I also thought that some of the writing could have been more in depth whereas some of the segments were too wordy and unnecessary.The characters were the same family as the other three books in the series so I was looking forward to getting to know the main character a little more. If you picked up this book it wouldn't stand alone like many of the books that were in a series that I've reviewed recently. Reader beware. The story moved slowly and I felt like it was written in a hurry, I guess I expected more of a closing and felt like the ending was too rushed and expected. Very disappointing. It took me much longer to read this book than what is typical and maybe part of it was that the story line wasn't as gripping as I would like. thank you to Revell publishers for the opportunity to review this book. I was in no way compensated for this review.

The second book I would like to review is " Finding Me" by Kathryn Cushman. I was glad to be selected to review this authors book because I recognized the name as an author I've enjoyed. I read this book in less than three days. It was really well written with deep characters and true to life emotion. I enjoyed the suspense and story line since it's not one that has been overused in the Christian novel community! I'm going to easily give this five stars on Amazon. This book was recieved from Bethany publishers for review. This review is my opinion. I was provided a copy of the book for review purposes but in no way compensated for a positive review.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Yarn along and a book review or two!

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~

I haven't been able to do many of the things I enjoy lately.
Lil G was hospitalized the end of July when her epilepsy decided to misbehave.
It's taken 4 months of adjusting meds
 to get to a place where we are actually sleeping well at night again 
and feeling more human.
Everything is off but we are thankful for the good place we have finally found ourselves.

        ( keeping a close eye on our girl while she sleeps)

I was sent the book, " what your heart needs" by Holley Gerth to review " on accident" by Revell books. Let's just say I think of it as a " happy accident". This beautiful little book has 52 devotions that Holley wrote based on the Psalms. I love how there is a table of contents with each devotional title and page in the front of the book. I started reading the devotions as soon as I recieved the book but then started skipping around and reading them as the title jumped out at me. Each devotion starts with a little life story and then ends with a simple thought to really ponder and a space to add your own prayer in as well as what you might hear after reading through that days selection. 
   A few of my favorites were: God wants to lift you up when life lets you down, God will give you everything you need, God notices when you cry, and God doesn't expect you to be fine. 
I've been a Christian almost my entire life, I appreciated how this little devotional is small so it can be packed in a purse or tote bag on the go and really think it would make a great gift for almost any woman on my list. 
I know it really was a gift for me during this hard time. I'm going to give this little treasure five stars over at Amazon! Thank you to Revell books for the opportunity to review this book, this is my opinion and I was in no way compensated for this review.

The second book I want to review is really a book title that will make you laugh, I recently read through " make comics like the pros" by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente. A few of my children and their friends ( fiancĂ©) are comic book readers. I saw this book and I'm an artist so I thought, " Hey, this might be an interesting read." I really didn't know what to expect and can't believe how much I really enjoyed this book! The two authors have collaborated on some well known comics and went so far as to create a comic for illustration purposes during the writing of this book. I really enjoyed following along the steps as they developed the script and all phases of writing and illustrating - even offering tips on promoting your work and interesting advice that any artist or author would enjoy. I loved the dialogue. For example: " you're about to dive into a giant pool of awesome directly relevant to whatever interests in comics creation might be." I'm also going to give this book five stars on Amazon. Thank you to blogging for books for the opportunity to review this book . This review is my personal opinion and I was in no way compensated for this review.

Lastly, I've come down with a bad cold this week and it gave me extra time piled up in my lounge pants, drinking hot tea, and sucking on cough drops to also read this book. " at Bluebonnet Lake" by Amanda Cabot was so good that I read it in two days. This book is a well written Christian romance. I enjoyed the depth of the characters, the development of the plot and how well the story flowed. The author did a great job describing the scenery and atmosphere so that I really felt connected to the characters and the Rainbow Lodge where the story takes place. The exciting part is that the author plans on writing two more stories at Rainbow Lodge. As always I never give spoilers about the characters or plot but I will tell you this book is a two for one deal- I highly recommend you read this one for yourself! I look forward to reading more by Amanda Cabot. I'm going to give this book five stars on Amazon. Thank you to Revell books for the opportunity to read " At bluebonnet lake". 

Since we gather together at Simple things to talk about what we are reading and knitting I will close with a photo of the Sweet November shawl I am knitting. I had to rip out three rows much to my dismay last night and haven't picked it up today to see how I did at keeping track of all my stitches. I'm hoping I can get it done to wear soon. The yarn is really pretty and enjoyable to work with.

In case you'd like to see our girl.
We went out and about and were able to see the Clydesdales! 
She kept signing, "horse". It was really cute!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Today I am doing a post about a fun book.
And gratitude.
I  love checking out fun ideas on pinterest 
and doing simple things to decorate my home.

"DIY type" by Dana Tanamachi is a fun book!
Instead of giving step by step how to directions
She has only 14 pages that tell about how she started her business 
Plus double page tutorials that list some supplies and a few ideas.

I took her idea and brainstormed a fun Fall banner for my home.
I love watercolor so I grabbed some extra inexpensive watercolor paper and played in some fun fall colors. I drew out two leaves to add to the banner as well.

It's hard to see the opalescent paints but let me tell you it's really pretty.
( you can also visit jones design company blog to see something similar hanging in her hallway!) 
The rest if this book is two font sizes of stencils in heavy card stock.

This is a brilliant idea!
I can keep the book on my shelf and stay organized. 
No small pieces to try and keep track of!!

This book is easily a five star read for me!
Thank you to Blogging for Books and Potter Style publishing for the opportunity to review this book.
This is my personal opinion and I was in no way compensated for my review!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Yarn along and a book review!

I'm joining Ginny over at Small things for Yarn along this week, a few days late but thankful i can still join in.

It's always fun when a new yarn falls into your lap. 
I love to go shopping at a little store that gets close outs and have picked up some amazing deals.
I bought two skeins and wound it this afternoon.

I usually won't review a book so quickly after it arrives but with this new yarn begging to be knit up and a little person playing happily in her room I was able to digest the entire book in a few hours.
Let me start by saying I smiled when I saw her dedication. She dedicated the book to her Ravelry friends- Ive met so many amazing women and learned so much on Ravelry.

So let me tell you how great this book is, the author is sharing tricks to take knitting to the next level. I love how each chapter focuses on a specific technique, wrapped stitches, twisted stitches, lace work tricks, and beads. The author starts off each chapter with a small pattern for a wristlet or necklace and moves on to hats, fingerless gloves, scarves, and ending with shawls. She provides a great description of the technique and the patterns use various weights of yarns. All of the patterns were something I would knit for myself or someone I love, it's not often that a I find a book that has so many patterns that are fun and practical. The  twenty three patterns cover a large range of skill levels, so plenty of things for a beginner all the way to difficult.

Some other things I really enjoyed were the yarn weight system and in the back a list of knitting techniques. This comes in handy if you are someone like me that likes to knit on the go, if I can't remember a stitch I can find what I need with a flip of the page. An added bonus is a little icon throughout the book. The author actually has a video on her webpage for that specific technique! Handy for a visual learner like me when learning something new. 

I've been knitting seriously for several years and I am so excited to explore new techniques and add this book to my shelves.
This book will easily get five out of five stars.
Thank you to blogging for books for the opportunity to review this book. 
This review is my own opinion and I was in no way compensated for this review.

The next book I've read is " loves Fortune" by Laura Frantz.
I have found a new favorite author! What a great historical romance. I enjoyed the well developed characters and felt emotionally attached to their struggles and joys. The plot was well thought out and attention to detail really kept my interest.The authors attention to detail really drew me in from page one and kept me up way past my bedtime many a night. I will admit I had to write this review before reading the last few chapters because I have been savoring every word. This book would get more than five stars if that was possible! Thank you Laura Franz for such a beautiful story. ( sorry no spoilers! Please go pick up a copy for yourself- you won't be disappointed!) a thank you to Revell books for the opportunity to review this book. This review is my personal opinion and I was in no way comoensated for a positive review. 

I want to close with sharing the cute little capelet I knit for Lil G.
I have the directions written down and will share on Ravelry.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Yarn along and a book review, or two!

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading (though not at the same time!), and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~

Ginny Sheller @ simple things 

If you have been following my blog for long you will know that I have a heart for adoption.
I was so excited when I was given the chance to review this book. 

" The Desire" was written byDan Walsh and Gary Smalley.
 I really enjoyed the main characters in this book,  Allen and Michelle, and Christina. I felt like the characters were well developed and enjoyed reading the emotional struggles as well as how they processed the events as they unfolded and in return grew in their faith walk. Having been a mother both through giving birth and adoption I really appreciated this story. The focus on missions, character growth and humility within a community of other believers was also touched upon and I loved how it was woven into all aspects of this book. Not just going to church but being the church.

I found out that this book is part of a series and appreciate that it can be read as a stand alone. I am sure I will end up purchasing the other books because I enjoyed the characters and plot. 

Thank you to Revell books for allowing me the opportunity to review this book.
This review is my humble opinion and I was in no way compensated for my review.

I have decided to knit a " capelet" for our little princess. Little G has gone out shopping for yarn with me recently and picked out this yarn. Of course it's her favorite color, purple. I wasn't able to find exactly what I wanted and decided I would invent a pattern that could be knit until I ran out of yarn. It's really sweet and I am pleased with the results. 

I guess a capelet could be described as a long collar or a shortened cape. Very sweet. I might end up posting the pattern on my ravelry page when life settles down a tad. I just can begin to tell you how crazy it has been. Lil G has been having " startle spells" which result from having silent seizures in the night. She was hospitalized the last weekend in July, on  my birthday. Then a month later her oldest brother was hospitalized. He was very very sick and I am ever so thankful he didn't have a stroke. Tests have been run and we don't have a diagnosis or good idea of what happened or how to prevent it. 

The second book I have to review is " Simple Thai Food" written by Leela Punyaratabandhu. She actually has a blog called the Thai home Kitchen. I loved this cookbook! We enjoy Thai food and have been trying our hand at cooking it with the limited ingredients we've been able to find at the big box grocery. This cookbook is just amazing, the author filled it with a beautifully written history of the dishes and how they are traditionally prepared, she then adapts them for cooks like you and I. She offers suggestions for ingredient descriptions, substitutes, and resources on where to purchase hard to find ingredients. The photography and writing was just beautiful. sadly with all the chaos going on lately I haven't been able to try any of the recipes. I simply cannot wait!
 Thank you to blogging for books for the opportunity to review this beautiful book. This review is completely my humble opinion and I was in no way compensated for this review.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Well Hello July!!

May and June were just a blur! 
How can it possibly be July already?!

        ( my drafting table back in its place. The power tools need to find their home so I can create!)

Our flood repairs are complete and all I have left is
Painting trim work and doors.
I'm loving the flooring we chose for my sons room.
It's actually linoleum.
It's sold in " planks" and has an adhesive.
Cuts with a razor blade for easy installation.
( water resistant and flexible. Both are must have )

My oldest daughter is now engaged!
She and her fiancé spent last week with us.
The best thing we did was sit down that first evening
Make a " to do list".
The only thing that didn't get done was a girls day with friends.
They had company visiting so it just wasn't good timing.
I call that a huge success!

I created my first word art using a photo from our day at the beach.
If you knew how much Lil G dislikes the beach,
This word art speaks volumes.
We have decided we HAVE to get her out to the beach at the very least once a week
This trip she actually asked to go back into the water.
I cannot express what a huge step this is for her. 

I've been so so busy
I hope your summer has been productive and 
Most importantly

Happy Fourth of July!

Taking a few minutes to pause,
Thankful for beautiful weather,
The humidity was so low this afternoon,
Lil G was able to play in her wading pool all afternoon.
It was such a great day for both of us.

                        ( a watercolor painting I did in 2011-  Proud to be an American) 

Last night we went to our local triple A teams ball game and their Fourth of July fireworks,
So tonight we are laying low and enjoying each other.

I have two excellent books to tell you about!
The first book is a topic dear to my heart, watercolor painting.
This book is called " Urban Watercolor sketching" by Felix Scheinberger.

This book took me by surprise.
I thought I was getting a book about a certain painting method,
You know, a "How to sketch using watercolors" book. 
Boy was I wrong!
This book delves into the history of watercolor painting and how each of the pigments
Are made. Each new color story was a treat to read, and each page I turned was full of great 
Information. Topics covered the whole gamut in watercolor painting, tool sz& paper, color theory, and even some tips on how to price your work.
What a great book! So happy to have this resource and to have some new ideas to explore.
I will rate this five out if five stars.
Thank you to Blogging for books and Watson Guptill for the opportunity to review this book.
This review was completely my own opinion and I was in no way compensated for it. 


The second book was " Child of mine" by David and Beverly Lewis.
I have read several of Beverly Lewis' books and looked forward to reading something written by both her and her husband.
I  was drawn into the storyline right from the beginning. I have enjoyed reading stories with two story lines and that is what you will find in this captivating story. I'm not someone to give away any of the secrets so you don't have to worry about that in my review, and let me just say there were quite a few surprises! This was a very good book, I have found myself feeling sad the past few days because I've finished the last page and closed the cover. This book will recieve five stars.
Thank you to Bethany House publishers for the opportunity to review this book. This review was my own personal opinion of this book and I was in now way compensated for it.


Just in case you are wondering, I am still knitting the sweater for my mother in law.
I have the two front pieces and back done and this is the start of the sleeve.
The yarn is a mercised cotton and really is lovely to work with.
I think I would be starting on the second sleeve 
if I took into account that the pattern has 3/4 length sleeves.
I know my mother in law wouldn't be happy with that so planned on adding to the length.
The thing I didn't take into account is that your forearm is larger than your wrist.
I had completed the whole lacework edging before realizing it just wouldn't work.
Being the perfectionist I am I had to start over.

Oh well.
I hope this weekend is full of beautiful moments!

Under His Wings,

Monday, June 16, 2014

Let's dream new dreams!

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it." 
                                                                                - Helen Keller

Call me a dreamer,
I have hopes and dreams for each one of my children.
If I'm not mistaken,
Most parents dream of what their children will aspire to.
Just because my youngest daughter has multiple disabilities does not change this fact.
If I think back over the past four years I can see how much my dreams have changed.
Is that a good thing I wonder? 
Should my dreams for Lil G remain the same?
Sometimes I fear I am setting us up for disappointment and other times I shake my fist at others
Don't tell me what is or isn't possible.

A week and a half ago, June 8th marked "gotcha day " as we call it in the adoption world.
Four years ago!!
Since then we've had our ups n downs.
Don't we all??
I have had to re group a few times since our day 1 together.
If you've been following along you will know what I speak of.
New diagnosis's that really shook me to the core.
Epilepsy, legally blind, unable to sweat-
 and fighting the " system"-both educational and medical.
I'm looking forward to a new schedule this upcoming school year.
 A new normal.
Lil G thrives on routine.
Let's dream new dreams together!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

A book review- knitting reimagined

I was so excited to receive a copy of Nicky Epstien's new book. 
I own one of her books already and have purchased others as gifts. 
As a seasoned knitter I appreciate the thought that went into this book.
 The patterns are clearly written and have good diagrams 
to explain innovating ideas for construction, 
with both charts and written directions to suit anyone's knitting preference. 
The author also categorized the patterns in chapters based on each construction method.
 I enjoyed the way each pattern had a thorough introduction,
 it not only listed the typical information about needle and yarn requirements,
 but also had skill level and an idea of how much time the garment would take an average knitter to make. 
My absolute favorite part is how the author tells how you can reimagine
 or reinvent the garment to suit your tastes. 
The book includes patterns for small to x Large sizes 
and also has patterns for all skill levels. 
It is frustrating when purchasing a pattern book 
to have patterns that are only for smaller sizes 
or that only have one or two patterns a novice knitter could try knitting.

        All that being said, when I am looking for a book to have on my bookshelf 
I am very ruthless and probably wouldn't care to own this one, 
reserving it to check out from the library or borrow from a friend. 
I would highly recommend anyone considering purchasing this book 
to find a copy at a local yarn or bookstore first. 
Many of the projects are " uniquely atypical" 
which was exactly what the author was trying to create. 
That being said, there are only four patterns that I would consider knitting out of 25. 

                               ( my two favorite projects)
Thankfully, there are enough suggestions and I have enough imagination 
to see potential in several others. 
I wish all of the patterns were more on the practical side, 
but we have many authors that are creating knitting projects like that right now.
 Kudos to Nicky Epstein for stepping outside the box in a brave fashion forward book. 

     Thank you to blogging for books, and potter craft books for the opportunity to review this book. This review is my personal opinion and I was in no way compensated for this review. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Ink stains



                      ( my "studio" in shambles so creating on the couch)

If you were to visit my home today you would find.
In the middle of renovations/ repairs from the recent flood.
The remains of my tenth year old sons room are in the living room,
And homeschool room.
Drywall dust.
Paint swatches litter the desktop
Searching for just the right color.

The sewing machine piled high with brightly colored fabrics
A path through the piles
Piles of art studio misc 
So that sewing can be done.
You would find all the contents of the laundry room in the living area,
Because the washer is not working,
Since the washer and dryer stack and are in a small space,

The ink and calligraphy nibs with knitting projects and a quilt in progress
All piled high within reach.
Call me Someone with ADHD
I call myself an artist
Trying to survive the mayhem 
Floods and little ones seizures returning within days of one another
They may try to break me
But I know what lies within
I was born to create,
I was made to " see" with the eyes of my heart.

        ( quilt is done and someone is grouchy about getting out of bed!)



                                                Seeing beauty in the mess. 
                                 I guess the hydrangeas loved all the rain and water.........

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Yarn along

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~


Joining the ladies over at Yarn along again,

Still knitting the MIL cardigan.
I've measured and have reached the 13" the pattern calls for-
One more inch to go
I thought the pattern was a little short for her tastes. 

What I am reading,
A yellow paged paperback
"Joni" by Joni Earkeson Tada
Go take a peek over at Joni and friends if you are interested,
A great organization helping those with disabilities and their family.
They've developed resources for Churches as well.
I subscribe to her daily devotional and enjoy it.

Lil Gs weighted blanket is complete!
Last night was the maiden voyage.
When she saw it in her bed she squealed with delight
" Ooooh! me! " 
Followed by a happy dance.
And ASL signing "blanket" 

Getting her out of bed this morning was nearly impossible.
You can see she got out of bed to get her puppy
Is snuggled back in bed listening to music.
She kept signing, " hungry" 
But refused to get out if bed

I carried it to the living room to pile up n watch TV
She wasn't enthused and was allowed to get back in bed.
We will have to work on the morning ritual.
I have high expectations for this heavy quilt.
I'm thinking about sharing how I made it,
Would you be interested??