Thursday, October 11, 2012

Nook Cover DIY

For my birthday, my daughter gifted me with a lovely Nook Color (and then showed me how to use it, lol)  My sister-in-law had been bragging on her Kindle so much, saying I needed to try a reader also.  She dropped hers on a very hard floor, on the corner of the reader and it shattered.  She is sporting a new one now, this time in a protective cover.

I priced covers for my Nook at Best Buy ($39.99!), and on Amazon ($25.00 or so).  That seemed outrageous, so I made one that I really like a lot : )  First, I chose a book cover I really liked.  My mother read to me from books just like this one, and it is just the right size.

For the padding, I used a brand new lunch bag, a give away from somewhere, that is made of closed cell foam.
I thought I could use the strap and velcro also, even though pink wouldn't have been in the running for a color choice if I'd purchased the materials.  I removed the stitching from the lunchbox and cut it to fit the book, with small pieces for pockets also.  I sewed the pocket section together, with the softer section of velcro sewn onto the pocket.  That piece will be touching the Nook, so it shouldn't be the loop side of the velcro.
Then, I scrounged around for sturdy elastic about 3/4 inch wide.  I didn't have any, except a small section of buttonhole elastic saved from a pair of pants my husband discarded.  I sort of enjoy the buttonholes, but you can use whatever strikes your fancy.

 I laid it out to see how it would go together.  The loop side of the velcro goes on this piece before it is glued into the book.  Measure it around your reader, so you get just the right length to keep the reader held securely, and at a depth that is close to the original thickness of the book.  For mine, that was 2 1/2 inches plus extra length to sew it onto the back of the lunchbox fabric.
I covered the inside of the spine with a piece of ribbon.  If I made another one, I would not try to bind the cut edges of the foam fabric with lace.  It would look a lot better without that, I think.
So, here it is completed.  The velcro can also be used to hold the book cover open while you are reading.  When it is closed, the strap is hidden inside so it looks just like a book.  Very functional, fun to use, and better protected if I happen to fall asleep holding it, as my dear sister-in-law did.

It is 47 degrees and cloudy at my house today...a great day to snuggle up with my e-reader, and the sweet memories of my mother that the cover brings to mind.

Happy crafting!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Homemade Thieves-type Oil

Last night, my teenage daughter went to bed feeling feverish, congested, with a very runny nose and a terrible headache.  A bedtime dose of Ny-Quil didn't do a thing for her.  She woke up this morning feeling miserable.  I made her some hot tea with local honey, and went right to work on making a fresh batch of Thieves-type oil to rub on the soles of her feet.  I also mixed some of it with an alcohol/water mix to spray around the house to kill any germs that might be in the air.  Three hours later, her fever is gone, and she is feeling like she might actually live!

The legend of Thieves oil is that it was concocted in the 14th century to protect marauding thieves against contracting the plague when they robbed graves or stole from the sick or dying.  The concoctions can vary according to whomever is making them, but they generally all contain a few of the same anti-bacterial/anti-viral oils.  My own blend is:

Homemade Thieves-type Oil

4 Tablespoons sweet almond oil (any other good carrier oil would work just as well)
20 drops clove oil
20 drops lemon oil
10 drops tea tree oil
10 drops eucalyptus radiata
10 drops rosemary verbenon
5 drops sage oil
3 drops basil, holy

Mix these all together in a small glass bottle.  I used an amber bottle to keep light out.  Rub this oil on the soles of the feet to help speed the body's natural ability to fight off germs.  To make the disinfecting room spray, you can put the same ingredients, minus the carrier oil, in a base of 4 oz water/4 oz alcohol, in a glass spray bottle.  Spritz around the rooms in your home to kill germs in the air.

Be well!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cute skirt upcycled from an old dress

My daughter and I love to snoop around in second hand shops to see what we can find.  A week or so ago, we found this dress

The fabric was so pretty, and crisp, too, like brand new.  We knew it was unwearable as a dress, with basically no top on it, and the skirt far too short for our liking, but we bought it anyway ($3.75) just for the fabric.

After thinking it over a while, I decided to make it into a cute summer skirt for my teenage daughter.
The bodice seemed like it would make a very nice wide waistband if I reshaped the front to match the width of the bodice back.

First, I cut the front even with the back, leaving a small seam allowance.  My daughter wanted a lining to give it more modesty, and a prettier drape, so I made a slip from an organic cotton muslin sheet I had in my fabric stash. The slip is nearly as wide as the skirt, but not quite, and it is 2 1/2 inches shorter than the finished skirt.  I attached it where the skirt joins the bodice, inside.

In order to get a nicer fit, I tapered the upper edges of the bodice so they angled slightly in at the top (like an "A", instead of out like a "V'), so they would fit a waistline. I did that by taking small darts along the side of the front bodice. The side of the dress already had a zipper, which I left intact. 

The top of the dress had very pretty tuck and embroidery detailing, which I think made a very nice waistband.  You can see that, as well as where I attached the lining (the row of stitching just above the gathers), on this photo:

All together, it took less than an hour.  The best part is, my daughter really likes it : )

Friday, July 20, 2012

Shoe-matoes : )

We love to raise all of the vegetables we possibly can in our small city yard, so we sometimes get creative in our planting.  Sometime I will take pictures of the recycled fun and useful items we have plants growing in, but for now, I will show you one of my favorites:

Shoe-matoes!  We have tomatoes growing so many places, including a hanging "Topsy Turvy" planter.  All of them are doing pretty well, except the ones I planted in a pair of garden shoes we had lying around outside this spring (nothing is safe from being used as a container! lol!).  That's ok with me.  I just love to look at them hanging on the fence so whimsically : )  I can see them from the house, and they make me smile everytime I look at them.

We put soil inside the Croc type shoes, and carefully poked tiny tomato seedlings in from the outside.   I think we planted yellow pear tomatoes in the shoes so the plants wouldn't get terribly heavy.  I'll take more photos if they do, indeed, set on fruit. 

Those are tomatillos, cucumbers, and green beans growing in the garden beneath the shoes, along with some strings tied so they can climb up the fence. It is our first year for tomatillos. Last year, we got some in a Bountiful Basket, used them to make salsa, and really liked the flavor. They have a ton of blossoms on them already, so we are hoping for a great crop.

Happy gardening!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pineapple delicious!

We participate in the Bountiful Baskets food program occasionally, and love the new things we get to try because of it.  Last Saturday's offerings included 19 pounds of fresh pineapple for $12.00; certainly too good to resist!

We turned most of it into pineapple jam, using a very simple recipe from the Ball canning book:

1 quart of finely chopped pineapple
2 1/2 cups of sugar
1/2 lemon, very thinly sliced
1 cup water

Cook until sugar is melted, then boil gently until it is gelling.  Pour into small jars, and water bath process for 15 minutes.

Of course, we had to open a jar this morning and try it on bagels and toast : )  It is so delicious!

The pineapples we got were small, so it took about three of them to get a quart's worth of chopped fruit.  Each recipe makes about 3 1/2 pint jars.  We made two recipes and still had fresh pineapple to eat.  Not a hardship, let me tell ya : )

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cute Cello Video : )

This so reminds me of my youngest daughter! She would never agree to this much cello abuse, but she certainly does love her cello this much.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

The American Patriot's Bible

First let me say that I am quite impressed with this Bible. The American Patriot's Bible is superbly put together. In the beginning of the Bible, there are quite a few pages for the recording of things like family events, ancestors of note, and periods of military or public service.

I especially love the nice large print size that can be easily read and the comfortable size that is easy for arthritic hands to hold. The paper is fairly durable, but not so thick that it makes the overall weight of the Bible unwieldy. Words of Christ are not in red, which may not be a problem to some. Also, this Bible is very appealing to the eye. The dust jacket is quite nice, a good deal more artful than most Bibles. This Bible would make a nice conversation piece on a coffee table.

Inside, there are many wonderful, informational features, including "The Seven Principles of the Judeo-Christian Ethic", several snippets on character qualities, with Scriptural examples, and many quotes from people of historical and political significance. You will also find quite a few pieces on important events and biographies, including pictures, of patriots of our history. I think it would be a great resource in many homes, but especially for use by homeschoolers due to the wealth of historical background information.


This Bible is a wonderful gift Bible. It is perfect for a history teacher, veteran, pastor, or fan of history. I believe it is geared a bit more towards men than women, but that may be just my age or experiences showing (I personally know many more military men than women). I am planning on giving a copy to a patriotic, homeschooled, young man at our church who will be graduating this year. I’m quite sure he and his family are going to be very happy with it!

I am very pleased that I had the chance to review this Bible and I highly recommend it to all.

I received this book free from the publisher through the book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

Friday, March 16, 2012

Are you rich?

As I was clearing out clutter from my desk today, I came across this lovely little story and thought I should post it here.  It is such good inspiration and encouragement to keep our needs simple in order to be able to give of our resources to help others.

The Rich Family in Church  by Eddie Ogan (click here for author's original)

I'll never forget Easter 1946. I was 14, my little sister Ocy was 12, and my older sister Darlene 16. We lived at home with our mother, and the four of us knew what it was to do without many things. My dad had died five years before, leaving Mom with seven school kids to raise and no money.

By 1946 my older sisters were married and my brothers had left home. A month before Easter the pastor of our church announced that a special Easter offering would be taken to help a poor family. He asked everyone to save and give sacrificially.

When we got home, we talked about what we could do. We decided to buy 50 pounds of potatoes and live on them for a month. This would allow us to save $20 of our grocery money for the offering. When we thought that if we kept our electric lights turned out as much as possible and didn't listen to the radio, we'd save money on that month's electric bill. Darlene got as many house and yard cleaning jobs as possible, and both of us babysat for everyone we could. For 15 cents we could buy enough cotton loops to make three pot holders to sell for $1.

We made $20 on pot holders. That month was one of the best of our lives.

Every day we counted the money to see how much we had saved. At night we'd sit in the dark and talk about how the poor family was going to enjoy having the money the church would give them. We had about 80 people in church, so figured that whatever amount of money we had to give, the offering would surely be 20 times that much. After all, every Sunday the pastor had reminded everyone to save for the sacrificial offering.

The day before Easter, Ocy and I walked to the grocery store and got the manager to give us three crisp $20 bills and one $10 bill for all our change.

We ran all the way home to show Mom and Darlene. We had never had so much money before.

That night we were so excited we could hardly sleep. We didn't care that we wouldn't have new clothes for Easter; we had $70 for the sacrificial offering.

We could hardly wait to get to church! On Sunday morning, rain was pouring. We didn't own an umbrella, and the church was over a mile from our home, but it didn't seem to matter how wet we got. Darlene had cardboard in her shoes to fill the holes. The cardboard came apart, and her feet got wet.

But we sat in church proudly. I heard some teenagers talking about the Smith girls having on their old dresses. I looked at them in their new clothes, and I felt rich.

When the sacrificial offering was taken, we were sitting on the second row from the front. Mom put in the $10 bill, and each of us kids put in a $20.

As we walked home after church, we sang all the way. At lunch Mom had a surprise for us. She had bought a dozen eggs, and we had boiled Easter eggs with our fried potatoes! Late that afternoon the minister drove up in his car. Mom went to the door, talked with him for a moment, and then came back with an envelope in her hand. We asked what it was, but she didn't say a word. She opened the envelope and out fell a bunch of money. There were three crisp $20 bills, one $10 and seventeen $1 bills.

Mom put the money back in the envelope. We didn't talk, just sat and stared at the floor. We had gone from feeling like millionaires to feeling like poor white trash. We kids had such a happy life that we felt sorry for anyone who didn't have our Mom and Dad for parents and a house full of brothers and sisters and other kids visiting constantly. We thought it was fun to share silverware and see whether we got the spoon or the fork that night.

We had two knifes that we passed around to whoever needed them. I knew we didn't have a lot of things that other people had, but I'd never thought we were poor.

That Easter day I found out we were. The minister had brought us the money for the poor family, so we must be poor. I didn't like being poor. I looked at my dress and worn-out shoes and felt so ashamed—I didn't even want to go back to church. Everyone there probably already knew we were poor!

I thought about school. I was in the ninth grade and at the top of my class of over 100 students. I wondered if the kids at school knew that we were poor. I decided that I could quit school since I had finished the eighth grade. That was all the law required at that time. We sat in silence for a long time. Then it got dark, and we went to bed. All that week, we girls went to school and came home, and no one talked much. Finally on Saturday, Mom asked us what we wanted to do with the money. What did poor people do with money? We didn't know. We'd never known we were poor. We didn't want to go to church on Sunday, but Mom said we had to. Although it was a sunny day, we didn't talk on the way.

Mom started to sing, but no one joined in and she only sang one verse. At church we had a missionary speaker. He talked about how churches in Africa made buildings out of sun dried bricks, but they needed money to buy roofs. He said $100 would put a roof on a church. The minister said, "Can't we all sacrifice to help these poor people?" We looked at each other and smiled for the first time in a week.

Mom reached into her purse and pulled out the envelope. She passed it to Darlene. Darlene gave it to me, and I handed it to Ocy. Ocy put it in the offering.

When the offering was counted, the minister announced that it was a little over $100. The missionary was excited. He hadn't expected such a large offering from our small church. He said, "You must have some rich people in this church."

Suddenly it struck us! We had given $87 of that "little over $100."

We were the rich family in the church! Hadn't the missionary said so? From that day on I've never been poor again. I've always remembered how rich I am because I have Jesus!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Then Sings My Soul Book 3
by Robert Morgan

I was delighted to receive a copy of this book to review. I own the first two volumes as well, and have enjoyed them greatly. It saddens me to know that this will be the last book in this series. I really enjoyed the additional historical information and background given for the hymns in this book. It is so nice to have the sheet music for the hymns included also. It makes the reading so much more enjoyable to have all of the words and the tune accessible while reading the story that goes with each hymn.

This book would be enjoyed by anyone interested in traditional Christian music. It is so inspirational to read about the trials that brought about many of the most beloved songs we sing. I think my favorite story in the book was that of Susan and Anna Warner. Anna penned the words to "Jesus Loves Me". These two sisters were born into a prosperous family that tumbled into poverty in the early 1800s. They also lost their mother when they were very young. The sisters committed their way fully to the Lord and endeavored to "give their lives without reservation to the Lord Jesus Christ" and to do whatever they could to keep their family home, and to provide for themselves and their father. It was such a joy to read their story and see God's hand of provision at work in their lives. By simply being doing the tasks set before them, and being open to the will of God, they were able to touch countless people with the love of Christ.

In short, I loved this book, and I think a great many others will love it also. The only criticism I have of the book is the paper on which it is printed. The pages have uneven edges, like handmade paper or torn paper. I have read other books bound with this style of paper also, such as the Jesus Freak books by Toby Mac and Michael Tait, and I have the same complaint about those books. For people such as myself with arthritic hands, it is quite a lot more uncomfortable to hold and read books with this kind of paper. I do think the torn edging gives a pretty look to the book, sort of like an antique, but it makes reading them less comfortable. That is the only drawback I find to this wonderful book. I highly recommend it to all!

I received this book free from the publisher through the book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising