Thursday, June 23, 2011

Comfort Food

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A few weekends ago, I enlisted the help of my husband, and we made 4 batches of blackberry jelly. The blackberries came from my freezer, where they have been waiting since blackberry season last year. The fall always seems to get so busy for us that I can only manage to pick as many blackberries as possible, but I never end up doing anything with them unless I freeze them. I guess springtime is my time for making jelly.

I just love blackberry jelly. I also love that blackberries grow like weeds here in Oregon, so the only cost is a few finger pricks and possibly some stained clothing (but mostly the stains end up on my girls’ chins—I have to try to pick faster than they can eat!). And I’m not the only one in this house who loves it. I think it has only been 3 weeks since we made jelly, and we’ve already used at least 2 pints. If my oldest had her druthers, she’d have toast with jelly for every meal, not to mention the increase in the number of PB&J sandwiches we’ve been making around here. I’m just hoping the amount we made will last until it’s blackberry season again.

Mmmmm, then we can use the fresh blackberries for cobbler! I won’t say I can’t wait for fall because we’re just beginning to get a taste of summer, but there are certainly good things to come!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Partial Review: The Red Tent

I haven’t really posted book reviews unless I have something particularly good to say about the book, but I decided I just want to be honest with my opinion. I don’t want to get too controversial or upset anyone who may have loved a book I didn’t. I realize we all have different tastes and sensibilities. I just want to share my opinion, and I’d love to hear yours if you have one.

As a preface to this review, I went into reading this book knowing that it was a historical fiction. And because of that, I made it a point NOT to read the portion of the bible portrayed just before reading the book so I could enjoy it for the fiction that it is without comparing it to the story and fussing over details. That being said, I think there still ought to be some level of reverence put into writing about biblical times, even if it’s for a fun work of fiction.

Without further ado, here is my honest review of the portion I read:

The Red TentThe Red Tent by Anita Diamant
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I was supposed to read this for book club, but I am just done! I normally have a compulsion to finish a book even if it’s terrible because you just never know if it could turn around and get better. I have no such hope for this book.

Each time I set the book down, I just felt uncomfortable. I kept weighing my options whether I wanted to miss out on socializing with my friends at book club so I wouldn’t have to finish it. Finally, I decided that a book that gives me that many second thoughts just isn’t worth my time—especially when I have so many good books I want to read with so little time to do it!

What’s wrong with this book? Well, in my opinion, the story was just way too sexualized. I only made it through 66 pages of the book, and I’m ashamed to admit I read that far. I understand that there was a lot of sex in the bible, but the bible certainly doesn’t take the time to describe each individual experience like this book did. I can only suppose that it was a New York Times bestseller for one reason: sex sells. I certainly don’t want to have those images and descriptions in my head the next time I read the bible!

I also agree with other reviews of this book that said they disliked how Jacob didn’t teach his wives about Jehovah, and they continued to worship idols. And I didn’t find Jacob to be nearly as faithful and devout as I would have liked him to be portrayed. I’m not going to continue reading this book. Maybe someone can let me know if I gave up after the worst part and it was actually worth finishing. I doubt it, but I’d be interested to know.

Have you read part or all of this book? What did you think? All opinions are welcome here; let’s just keep it a civil discussion, please.

Monday, June 20, 2011

IHF: Let’s Hear it for the Boys!

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I just love this picture of my husband and his girls. We had just finished a long hike. I wanted to get a picture of my girls in this pretty field next to the parking lot before we went home. The girls were worn out and wanted to be left alone to pick flowers rather than pose for a picture. I pleaded with my husband to try to get them to stand together for just a moment. He did what he does best: he played with them. This was the very first picture of the series, and I love it so much. I love my husband, and I’m grateful for the caring, attentive, and fun dad he has turned out to be.

This boy makes me feel like such a lucky girl!

To see more wonderful pictures of boys, young and old, click below to see all the entries at I Heart Faces this week.I_Heart_Faces_Photography_125

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sisters

110615_0002-1a webI just love to watch these two in their moments of peace.

When no one is pestering, pushing buttons, or being territorial.

The pleasant absence of screams.

When they actually look like they just might possibly be . . . friends.110615_0009-1a web110615_0007-2a web

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ruffle Bum Onesies

110610_0015-1a webI got these onesies done in the nick of time before a baby shower last Friday. Since I won't be making anything ruffled for this baby, I had to get my girly fix crafting for someone else. I wish I had known about these when my girls were still small enough to wear them. I think they're so adorable!

They were a hit at the baby shower. I just love it when the recipient asks if I made the item, and when I say yes, there is a chorus around the room of "You made that?!" Don't you other crafters just love that reaction? It gives me warm fuzzies for taking the extra effort to do a handmade gift.110610_0013-1a web110610_0014-1a web

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There are tons of tutorials online for doing these (so of course I used one-- no need to try to reinvent the wheel). I ended up using THIS tutorial I found on Ucreate by Crap I've Made. She gives three different options for how to do them. I used the third because I don't have a serger or pinking shears (sigh- someday). And since I'm not the most experienced at gathers (the only time I've gathered fabric was for the gathered clutch I made in January), I decided to try a couple different methods to see which I like best. For the lemon onesie, I used a traditional gather; you can find great instructions on how to do that HERE. And for the red striped onesie, I used a method I found taught by Couturier Mommy using dental floss and a zigzag stitch. I found that the traditional method took longer to work the fabric into gathers, but it stayed in place fairly well once you had it gathered. The dental floss method was a cinch to gather, but it tended to flatten out if I didn't get it pinned in place right away. For the last onesie, I decided to use the traditional method again because it was easier to have the gathers stay in place when I was trying to pin to the stretchy onesie fabric. I don't know if you can see a difference in the ruffles based on which method I used.

I lucked out on the fabric. Both Joanne fabric stores in our city are under liquidation while they prep for a new location to open at the end of June. When I went in to get fabric, they had all their bolts wrapped in plastic except for two small rows. These fabrics were some of the best they had left, so I took what I could get.

In other news, I haven't been up to much other crafting. I've been working on one of my classic receiving blankets for baby boy, but my nesting for him so far seems to consist more of hoarding potential projects rather than actually completing any. I've brought my husband to the dark side with me: he has seen some of the designer fabrics online that I like, and when I drag him to a fabric store now, he doesn't like anything he sees compared to what is available online. Mwa ah ah! We've chosen a name for the little guy, but I'm too paranoid to share my kids' names on this blog :( sorry. My oldest wanted to name him Pudge Puppy. I told her that was more of a nickname than it was a name you would call him his whole life. She loved that idea and has dubbed it his official nickname. I doubt she'll forget about it by the time he's born, poor guy.

So many of my friends and family are pregnant right now that I can't decide whether to make things for myself or for them. I keep telling myself I'll finally brave the clothing frontier and make some skirts for the girls, but that has yet to happen. I have been searching like crazy for a car seat cover pattern-- one that will teach me to make a gorgeous new car seat cover for our infant car seat like Dana makes without telling me to pick my original one apart. I just don't have the guts to destroy my car seat cover if it depends on my skill to put it all back together! Have any of you seen a pattern like this out there?

What have you been crafting lately? Is it summer where you are yet? We seem to be having a very late spring around here. You're always welcome here. Leave a comment. Follow along. Thanks for stopping by!

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*Personal note: given to Melynnda/Brynlee