Saturday, March 29, 2014

Reading List: The Enchanted April

I finished "The Enchanted April" by Elizabeth von Arnim this past week.  My overall impression of this book is that it seemed like a British Lit beach read, if you know what I mean.  It was set in 1920's England, and told the story of 4 women, strangers to each other,  who each wanted to get away from the dreariness of their lives in March in London.  So they went in together to share the rent for a castle in Italy for the month of April. They start out thinking they each want a month of alone time to recharge. Of course, they all reflect on their lives, and the springtime in Italy works magic on them.  It is a sweet story, has marriages renewed and relationships born, and ends happily for all.  Also lots of flowers and sunshine in the Italian countryside.  If there had been a "Top Ten Books for your Beach Bag" list in 1920's England, this would have been on it.

Note: I watched the movie version from Amazon Prime (free instant watch).  I have to say I was disappointed. Granted, it was made in 1991, but it didn't convey the magic of the flowers and seaside the way I had envisioned.  It seemed too dark, but that could have been film quality.  Funny how in my mind, 1991 wasn't that long ago.  But when you watch a movie made in 1991 you're reminded of how far things have come since then!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Reading List: Howard's End

I finished Howard's End a few days ago.  I enjoyed it, but it wasn't quite what I was expecting.  I don't know what I was expecting, exactly. But this wasn't it.  About 3/4 way through it, I decided to just put it down; it wasn't grabbing my attention, so I thought.  But later that same day I started thinking about those characters and wondering how they would turn out, so of course I had to finish it.  I've never seen the movie, but I did look up the cast before I read the book.  It was fun to picture those actors in my mind as I read.  I think the three leads, Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins, and Helena Bonham Carter, were perfectly cast.  I could SO picture Emma Thompson, especially, as Margaret.  Everything she said and did just seemed to fit her perfectly.  Of course I love Emma Thompson, and think she can do no wrong.

Howard's End, by EM Forster -- Recommended

Next up: The Enchanted April, Elizabeth von Arnim

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Rag Quilt

I'm going to make a rag quilt for my daughter for her high school graduation this spring. I've found some wonderful tutorials that I'll link here so I can find them easily when I need them:

This one has a chart w/ measurements and fabric amounts needed for various sizes: Jubilee Homespun Fabric

That same site has beautiful homespun fabric collections, including this blue one w/ a pattern layout my dd likes:  40-Soft-Homespun-6-inch-Quilt-Squares

This one has cute fabric choices pictured, and these are the ones my dd likes the most. She has an Etsy shop, and sells rag quilt kits, too. Northern Cottage

This one has some good time-saving advice: The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking

This is one on Etsy that uses lovely vintage fabric (including a chenille bedspread, I think) JustLuved's Etsy Shop

This tutorial explains how to sew the X's on the squares  Green Apple Orchard

This one is done in strips, and would be a great 1 day project for a baby gift or housewarming:  Easy Peasy DIY Rag Quilt 

Good practical tips here: Dream a Little Bigger

My plan is to bring dd along with me to choose her fabric, but for a surprise I'm going to embroider some of her favorite quotes and scriptures and a few of the squares. She has a whole pinterest board filled with quotes that stir her heart, and I'm going to pick a few from there. That should personalize it well for a graduation gift from a mother to a daughter.

I'm looking forward to this project! I went to Hancock Fabrics last night and bought a cutting board, a rotary cutter, and a ruler -- they were all marked down and I had a coupon from Retail Me Not. Yay!

Friday, January 03, 2014


A new home (yet again), a new town (ditto), and a new outlook (finally!). It's about time I stopped allowing life's twists and turns to steal my joy. I'm going to start enjoying the ride!

What a Difference a Year Makes

I used to live daily life by the side of a lovely lake, which was the focus of this blog in the first place. Then my husband was reappointed to a church over an hour away. Thankfully, we were able to find a nice family to rent our home while we were away, but then of course it was someone else living daily life by the side of our lovely lake. I just wasn't able to write anything on this blog while we were away.

After a year, we were again reappointed (long story, don't have the heart to talk about it just yet...), and now we're a little bit closer to our beloved home. Our renters moved out last week, and now the house stands empty.

Friday, December 24, 2010

On Christmas Eve

Zechariah’s Song

His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us—
to show mercy to our ancestors
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
guide our feet into the path of peace

Luke 1: 67-79

Praise be to our Lord and Savior, and may your feet be guided into the path of peace this Christmas and always.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

High School!

We started school this week -- My Boy starting 11th grade and My Girl starting (drumroll please.......) ............... high school!

I don't know who is trying to play this cruel trick on me, but there. Is. No. Way. my kids are old enough for 9th and 11th grade!

I've got to say though, as much as I have loved homeschooling all along, I still love it just as much in high school. I love having my kids old enough for in depth discussions about history and church history (a la TOG). And I love being able to have discussions about books we both enjoy (they're reading Pride & Prejudice this week. Joy! It's fun to have someone to laugh at Mrs. Bennett with!)

I also love that they are doing such a good job with the independent part of their learning. I always heard that by the time you get to high school a homeschool mom has worked her way out of a job, but I didn't quite believe it. However, I can tell you that there's a lot of wisdom to it. Even though I'm still teaching My Girl algebra, and I'm meeting with the kids once a week for TOG discussions, I'm finding myself with a lot of time on my hands. I've even taken on a part time job! I don't know if I'll keep it or not -- we've only just begun our year but so far, so good. I'm able to be there for the subjects my kids need me for in the morning hours, and then work in the afternoons. Where we might have a problem later is when extra-curriculars start up. But we'll cross that bridge when we get to it, I guess. For right now, this first week of school has been a good one!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

What more was needed by this old man, who divided the leisure of his life, where there was so little leisure, between gardening in the daytime and contemplation at night? Was not this narrow enclosure, with the heavens for a ceiling, sufficient to enable him to adore God in his most divine works, in turn? Does not this comprehend all, in fact? and what is there left to desire beyond it? A little garden in which to walk, and immensity in which to dream. At one's feet that which can be cultivated and plucked; over head that which one can study and meditate upon: some flowers on earth, and all the stars in the sky.

--Victor Hugo, Les Miserables