Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Forgiven - Shelley Shepard Gray

Summary from Good Reads: Tragedy strikes--a brother and sister find themselves facing a situation that will shape the rest of their lives. When a fire destroys the Lundys' barn, Winnie is injured trying to get the animals to safety. Confined to a hospital for weeks, out of touch with her loved ones who live too far away to visit by buggy, she must depend on Englisher Samuel Miller to keep her company. Though his family is part of Winnie's tight-knit Amish community, Samuel left years earlier to pursue a university education. Through conversations, and Samuel's dedication to her recovery, a friendship forms. But despite their growing attraction, Winnie knows it can never develop into something more as long as Samuel chooses to remain in the outside world. When Winnie returns home, she finds her brother, Jonathan, struggling with his own dilemma. Cigarette butts were discovered in the debris of the barn and Jonathan is determined to find out who is responsible for destroying his property and putting his family at risk. But in a community founded on grace and forgiveness, will his unwillingness to move on eat away at the trust that is the foundation of their lives?

In the middle of the night, Jonathan Lundy's barn is engulfed in flames as he rushes to rescue all his animals and save his sister Winnie.  Winnie ends up in the hospital for a short period of time with burns on her legs and a broken foot.  Since her brother was busy trying to clean up the disaster, he asked Samuel Miller to take her and visit her regularly since he lived and worked near the hospital.  Samuel left the Amish community before being baptised to continue his education and is now a college professor of agriculture.  He likes his job but has always felt like he did not fit in with the English.  A budding friendship develops while visiting Winnie in the hospital that make him question everything about his English life.  Will Winnie and Samuel join in either the English or Amish world?  Will Winnie finally find the love that she has been looking for?

This is the last book in the series of Sisters of the Heart.  I throughly enjoyed it!  I originally read Grace first and I decided to read the whole series from the beginning.  I love how each book revolved around a different person's relationship and how they all became "Sisters of the Heart."  I love Shelley Shepard Gray's writing style and her character development makes you feel like you are there with them.  I will be reading more from her in the future.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Decked the Folly - Kate Kingsbury

Summary from Good Reads: The Pennyfoot Hotel is decked out in holiday style, but when one of Cecily's candlesticks disappears, she realizes someone is lacking in Christmas spirit. Still, petty thievery seems the least of her problems when she learns a former employee has been found dead in her duck pond. He hasn't worked at the Pennyfoot in years, but his ex-wife is still their head maid-and now she heads the naughty list of suspects.

It's Christmas time at Pennyfoot.  Will this be the year with no problems?  I doubt it!  There's another holiday murder at the country club but this time it is a former employee who is the father of another's employees children.  Who has a reason to kill Ian?  Thankfully, the constable had to leave to spend time with his family for the holiday so Cecily has taken it upon herself to solve the mystery.

I read this book for my neighborhood book club.  It was very interesting to me.  We wanted to read a nice and easy book since everyone was so busy preparing for the holidays.  This is the fifth holiday Pennyfoot mystery book.  I may go back and read some more of them soon.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to take a minute to wish all my friends and readers and very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Stylish Blogger Award

I received the Stylish Blogger Award from my friend Patty.  Thanks so much!

I need to tell you 8 things about myself:

1. I quilt!  I am loving all the craft money that I am earning making quilts for people at work.
2. I enjoy reading Amish fiction on my kindle!
3. I am addicted to buying books for my kindle!  It is too easy to just click BUY ME!!!
4. I have 4 "non-human" kids.  They are: Simba - a 7 month old black lab, Ziggy - a 7 year old black cat, Munchy - a 3 year old guinea pig and Sebastian - a 2 year old bearded dragon.
5. I belong to my neighborhood's book club which meets monthly.
6. I love to make my own stamped cards!
7. I love to color with Copic markers and Prismacolor pencils on digital stamps!
8. I love spending time with my hubby.  We love snowmobiling, camping, biking and camping!

And now I get to nominate 8 people.  They are:

My reading friends from Fans of Amish Fiction group over on Good Reads:

1. Rachel
7. Eva

And of course, my closest friend ever:


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sarah's Christmas Miracle - Mary Ellis

Summary from Good Reads: From the bestselling author of A Widow’s Hope and Never Far from Home comes a brand-new Amish novella that will add joy to the Christmas season.

Sarah Beachy has plenty to be joyous about as autumn leaves start to fall. She loves her job at the English bed-and-breakfast where she cooks and refreshes rooms between guests. She has a serious beau, and everyone expects an engagement soon. Why, then, would she jeopardize everything by suddenly deciding to take a trip to Cleveland to track down a brother who left the Order years ago?

Her family’s faith in God is put to the test as the holiest night of the year approaches and Sarah remains far away. Sarah’s mother, Elizabeth, has been missing her son for such a long time…will she lose her daughter to the English world as well? Or will the Beachy family receive an unexpected Christmas miracle?

Sarah is nineteen years old, she works at an English bed and breakfast and has a wonderful beau named Adam.  There is just one thing, she has not been baptised into the Amish church so they cannot announce their engagement to the church.  Sarah is worried about getting married and starting a family.  Her oldest brother left the Amish community five years ago to become a carpenter in Cleveland, Ohio with the union and has never returned.  She sees how her mother is hurt and how it has impacted her family, especially during the holidays.  Before she gets married, she goes to find her brother to get some answers.

This is a wonderful holiday novella.  It focuses on family, forgiveness and faith.  This is the first book that I have read from Mary Ellis and I truly enjoyed it.  I am looking foward to reading more from her in the future.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Log Cabin Quilt With a Twist

I finished this quilt on Saturday afternoon.  It is a Christmas order for a co-worker for her mother.

Here is a close up of some squares:

This quilt was actually larger than I expected, 60" by 84".  I love the purple stars at the intersections too!

This quilt was a kit purchased from Connecting Threads called Summer Log Cabin Quilt kit.  If you are a quilter, be sure to check out their store.  There fabric is gorgeous and super reasonable and their Essential Thread Spools are perfect for piecing and quilting.

Personally, I don't think that I would have put these colors together in this fashion but I am so glad that they did!!!  I absolutely love this quilt!  I wish it was mine!  Hmmm, I may just use the money from this quilt to buy another kit to make for ME!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

An Amish Christmas - Patricia Davids

Summary from Good Reads: When Karen Imhoff finds a beaten man lying unconscious by the road in her Amish community, she doesn't hesitate to help. "John Doe" needs a place to stay while he regains his memory, and she has a room to rent. The handsome Englisher proves invaluable around the family farm, yet his presence wreaks havoc with her emotions. Karen has her younger siblings to care for. She can't fall for an outsider who doesn't know his own identity. But as Christmas draws closer, the simple grace of this life—and this woman—could inspire John to make Karen's dreams come true….

When Karen discovered a man left for dead on the edge of her family's Amish farm, she knew she needed to help him.  When he was released from the hospital a week later he had amnesia and could not remember anything about himself.  John Doe, as he was named, stayed with the Imhoff family while he looked for work and tried to remember his old life.  Along the way, he falls in love with Karen.  She is a strong, devout Amish woman who was responsible for caring for her 3 younger siblings since her mother and 2 older siblings dies in an accident a few years ago.

John begins to see some flashes of his past but cannot see all the details nor can he remember much more.  He later realizes who he is and why he was in Hope Springs.  Will he stay and build a new life, the Amish way, or will he return to his old life?  God has a plan for John but does it include Karen?

This is the first book that I have read from Patricia Davids.  I truly enjoyed it!  After doing some searching, I realized that this book is the third in a series called, Brides of Amish Country.  The first book is Katie's Redemption followed by The Doctor's Blessing.  Both books are from the Stepple Hill Love Inspired and are reasonably priced for the kindle at under $4 each.  I am personally going to read the first two books after I have read a few more Christmas books by the end of the year.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

White Christmas Pie - Wanda E. Brunstetter

Summary from Good Reads: Step into Amish country for this bittersweet holiday romance. Here you'll meet Will Henderson, a young man tortured by his past, and Karen Yoder, a young woman looking for answers. Add a desperate father searching for his son, and you have all the ingredients for a first-class romance that will inspire and enthrall.

Karen and Will are getting married in 3 months and Will has had to face is past.  His feelings about being abandoned as a child begin to take an affect on his relationship, friends and family.  But thanks to a desperate father who had been searching for his son, they reunite to help heal some old wounds.

I truly enjoyed this book!  I loved the interactions between Will and Karen.  The jealousy towards some friends gave their relationship a challenge but they both came to realize how much they loved each other.  I loved how the story was wrapped up and the significance of the White Christmas Pie, which sounds absolutely yummy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hump Day Inspiration #26

Happy Wednesday to everyone!  It's time for another challenge from Inktegrity.  This week's challenge is to make a holiday card using non-traditional colors.

Here's mine:

Well I know that green is a traditional color so I used a darker green, lighter green and light blue.  It's a stretch but I like these colors!  I just had to keep it somewhat traditional since it is Baby Slusser's first Christmas!

Stamps: Inktegrity - Baby Slusser
Paper: PTI Kraft, Gina K Luxury White, Always Artichoke, SU DP
Ink: Copics
Accessories: SU 1/4" Grosgrain Ribbon - Always Artichoke

Monday, December 6, 2010

Squigglefly Challenge #78

Happy Monday everyone!  It's time for another (and our final) challenge from Squigglefly for my term as a design team member.  This week's challenge is a theme:


Here is my card:

Isn't this snowman just too cute??!!  It is from Brian Lock, a new Squigglefly designer.  Stop by and grab it to make for your holiday cards.

Stamps: Squigglefly - Snowman Lights, Papertrey Ink - Background Basics: Christmas, Papertrey Ink - 2010 Holiday Tags
Paper: PTI White, Gina K Luxury White, Brilliant Blue
Ink: Papertrey Ink - Enchanted Evening, Copics
Accessories: SU 1-3/4" Circle Punch, Circle Nestabilities (Classic), Cuttlebug

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Secrets Beneath - Kathleen Fuller

Summary from Book Sneeze: Rebekah Yoder loves a good mystery—that is, until she becomes a part of one.

Rebekah Yoder has always been curious . . . or nosy depending on whom you ask. When a Yankee stranger moves into the house next door, she’s fascinated. Who is this strange old man who never waves or smiles? When Bekah sees him digging holes in his back yard, she’s sure there is a case to be solved.

Unfortunately, when her cousin blabs the story to the whole school, rumors fly. Is he hiding something? Treasure? Victims? And worst of all, annoying Caleb Mullet is now determined to solve the mystery with her. What they don’t realize is there’s not just secrecy lurking next door—there’s danger. Will Bekah take her curiosity too far?

But there is more than one case to solve around Rebekah's house. Her visiting cousin is hiding secrets too. What more does an Amish girl need to keep her curious? Follow Rebekah as she finds out more than she wanted to know and learns that being curious can be good, but being nosy is something else. This book was easy to read and had a fun story to follow.  It is nice to see how Amish kids live for change from the other adult Amish stories I have read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers 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.”

Monday, November 29, 2010

Peace Sign Quilt

Here is a quilt that I was asked to make for Christmas.  It is for a co-worker's 10 year old daughter as a surprise Christmas present (he said that he was feeling generous this year!).  Her favorite colors are light blue and purple and she love peace symbols!

Here is a close up of one of the blocks:

I love the way this came out!  I know that any 10 year old will love it too!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wanted - Shelley Shepard Gray

Summary from Good Reads: For a split second, Katie feels certain she's about to receive everything she's ever wanted. . .

Twenty-year-old Katie Brenneman has always quietly fancied Jonathan Lundy. So when the brokenhearted widower asks her to help him take care of his two young girls, Katie knows it will be a trying time—yet she cannot pass up a golden opportunity to get to know this man better.

Just as she's settling into her new life, a message arrives from Katie's past, threatening to expose her darkest secrets. During her Rumspringa, her running-around years, she experimented with activities forbidden in the Amish way of life. Frightened by how far she'd strayed from her values, Katie ran back home, vowing to cut all ties with the outside world. Now her transgressions are coming back to haunt her, just as Jonathan seems willing to welcome her into his heart.

Will the past destroy Katie's chances for love? Or will Katie allow herself to accept God's love, forgive her past, and receive everything she's ever wanted?

All Katie ever wanted was to be loved.  Her secrets about her rumpsinga came back to haunt her.  She feels that she needs to be forgiven for the things she did during that time.  She made new English friends that she misled and ran off on them after telling them the truth of who she really was.

Then an opportunity arises for her to help out Jonathan Lundy's family.  His wife died a while ago and his sister Winnie was helping him.  Winnie decided to pursue a dream and she headed to Indiana to meet a man that she had been communicating with for a while.  Katie is asked to help out with his two daughters in Winnie's absence.  Katie has had feelings for Jonathan and this was her chance to prove that she could be a good wife and mother to his girls.

I really enjoyed this story since Katie finally found love, the kind of love that she had always dreamed of.  It shows us to follow our hearts and God and things work out for a reason.  I am looking forward for reading the final book in this series, Forgiven.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hump Day Inspiration #24

Happy Hump Day everyone!  Today's challenge over at Inktegrity has become a monthly favorite among challenge seekers.  It is ANYTHING GOES!  Come check us out over at Inktegrity's Design Team Challenge.

Here is my card:

This is my first time using the tractor.  I love it because it has so many trailer options.  Plus the sentiments make perfectly!  Joni has always had a way with words!

Stamps: Inktegrity - Fall Tractor
Paper: PTI Kraft, Basic Black, 2 Unknown DP
Ink: Copics
Accessories: Cuttlebug, Papertrey Ink Rickrack Border Die

Monday, November 22, 2010

Squigglefly Challenge #76

Happy Monday everyone!  The challenge this week over at Squigglefly is Thank You / Give Thanks.

Here is my card:

I thought that this little turkey was just perfect for giving thanks at Thanksgiving.  I stamped out the background using Papertry Ink's Background Basics: Botanicals and Daily Designs.

Stamps: Squigglefly - Thanksgiving Turkey: Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Papertrey Ink - Background Basics: Botanicals, Papertrey Ink - Daily Designs
Paper: PTI Kraft, GP White, More Mustard, Really Rust
Ink: PTI Burnt Umber, PTI Vintage Cream
Accessories: Cuttlebug, Circle Nestabilities (Classic & Scalloped)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hump Day Inspiration #23

Hello and happy Wednesday!

It's time for another challenge from Inktegrity!  This week's challenge is a sketch challenge.  Here it is:

Here is my card:

This Slusser is just too cute!  Be sure check him out along with a few more new additions to Slusser's family over at the Inktegrity store.

Stamps: Inktegrity - Hot Cocoa Slusser
Paper: PTI White, Gina K Luxury White, GP White, Tempting Turquoise, Basic Black, Unknown DP
Ink: Cat's Eye Chalk - Surf, Copics
Accessories: Cuttlebug, Papertrey Ink Fillable Frame #9 Die, Buttons

Friday, November 12, 2010

Say Hello to Simba!

Well, as you may have read in my post earlier last week, we had to put our dog, Rusty, down on October 29th.  Now I have some good news to share.

Meet Simba!

Here is his story:

On Saturday, October 30th, we received a call from my MIL saying that one of my hubby's cousins had a 6 month old black lab that needed a home.  She is moving out of her house and into an apartment in December and could not take him.  Simba needed a home or he was going to end up in a shelter.  So hubby and I talked about it everyday until last Tuesday when we went down to meet him.  OMG, we fell in love!  He is gorgeous, gentile and lovable.  We decided to take him for weekend as a trial run and would return him on Sunday.  We are leaving for Walt Disney World on Monday, November 15th so we thought that it might be easier on the dog to go back with them until we were back from our trip.  So on Friday, we went to get him and it was decided that we should just keep him since 2 of the owner's kids were crying and upset that Simba was leaving.

There is some significance to his name with us.  When Rusty was a puppy, for the first two years of his life, he had a stuffed Simba from the Disney Store that he carried around and sucked on his neck all the time.  Simba was constantly having surgeries to be repaired so Rusty could play with him longer.  Well one day, the repair was too much for me to do so we had to toss Simba and Rusty had to become a big boy.  If this is not a message from Rusty, then I don't know what is!

So we had fun with him all weekend.  Here's proof:

Simba has had a rough life for being only 6 months old.  We are his third home.  His first owner abused him for the first 2 months of his life until my hubby's cousin rescued him from them.  He stayed with her for 4 months until she left because her husband was beating her, the kids and the dog.  He was also confined in a crate that was way too small for him for 23 hours a day and was muzzled.

So, we decided that we are going to spoil him rotten and finally give him a home that he deserves.  So am I doing it right???

He is a great addition to our family!  Thank you Rusty for sending Simba to us!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

When Strawberries Bloom - Linda Byler

Summary from FSB Media: New love and even more questions enter Lizzie Glick's life in When Strawberries Bloom, the second novel in this series written by an Amish writer and based on true life experiences.

Lizzie's dream of teaching school has finally come true. She loves the brand-new school building, the sound of the children singing, and the independence she has in the classroom. Even the occasionally unruly boys can't ruin the excitement she feels each morning when she starts the school day.

But at home things are in turmoil again. What do Dat's sudden health problems mean for the future of their farm? And what about Lizzie's future? Emma and Mandy are so certain that Joshua and John are their perfect matches, but Lizzie doesn't know what to think about Stephen and how he might fit into her life.

What will Lizzie decide? Will she continue to teach school? Or will she give up that dream so that her wish for marriage and a family can come true?

Stephen says he loves her, but Lizzie isn't sure he really understands her. Can she hope to find anyone within her Amish community who loves her bright mind, her ever-active imagination, her competitive spirit and her stormy humor?

This is the second book in the Lizzie Searches for Love series.  Lizzie becomes a school teacher like she has always wanted.  Her sister Emma becomes a member of the church and gets married.  This has Lizzie questioning love, life and faith.  Since Lizzie is a little older in this book than in Running Around (And Such), this book focuses on becoming a young woman.  She questions God's will, the meaning of scriptures and the true meaning of love.

I love the attention to details that Ms. Byler provided in this book.  She described the wedding and Amish customs with precise details.  I think I have learned more about the Amish community by reading her books.  I am looking forward to reading the third and final book in this series called Big Decisions which is scheduled to be released in March 2011.

A special thanks to FSB Media for allowing me to review this book before it is released!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hump Day Inspiration #22

Happy Hump Day!  This week's challenge over at Inktegrity is a recipe challenge.  It is to use ribbon and/or flowers.

Here is my card:

I made these flowers using a digital cutting file from Darcy's Designs called Bitty Bloom.  I love making my own flowers this way, they will always match your card!

Stamps: Inktegrity - Doll, Papertrey Ink - Mixed Messages (Sentiment)
Paper: PTI White, Gina K Luxury White, Basic Black, SU Summer Picnic Dp
Ink: Archival Jet Black, Copics
Accessories: Cricut, Darcy's Designs - Bitty Bloom, Cuttlebug, Nestabilities, Brads

Monday, November 8, 2010

Squigglefly Challenge #74

This week's challenge over at Squigglefly is Music to Your Ears!

Here's my card:

I thought this moose was absolutely adorable!  I am using this card to send as a Thank You card to my husband's counsin since we now own their black lab, Simba.  I will be posting pictures soon along with his story!!!

Stamps: Squigglefly - Moose-ical Genius, My Favorite Things - Essential Sentiments
Paper: PTI White, GP White, Basic Black, Bo Bunny DP
Ink: Archival Jet Black
Accessories: Prismacolor Pencils, Blending Stumps, Baby Oil

Friday, November 5, 2010

Running Around (and Such) - Linda Byler

Summary from Good Reads: A romance novel by an Amish writer, based on true experiences!

It isn't that Lizzie doesn't want to stay Amish. It's just that there is so much to figure out.  Like why can't she let her hair a little looser on top?  And why can't she wear shoes with a little bit more of a heel?

And will she ever really just know for a fact who she is going to marry like her next-older sister, Emma, does?  And how does it happen that her just-younger sister, Mandy, is going on a date before Lizzie ever has a real one?  So does it matter at all if she eats one more whoopie pie? Amos seems to like her a lot when she pounds out the ping-pong games. He even asks her to be his partner in doubles. But then he asks Ruthie if he can take her home!  It has been this way Lizzie's whole life.

She has too hot a temper. She hates housework and dislikes babies. She loves driving fast horses but is petrified of going away from home for a week to work as a maud (maid).  Now that Lizzie is running around, will she scare off the Amish boys with her hi-jinks manners?  She has certainly attracted the attention of the egg-truck driver. A scary thrill runs through her every time the worldly man comes to pick up an order, each time extending his stay a little longer. How long will she keep this a secret from Emma-and from Mamm and Datt?  What will become of Lizzie? Is she too spirited, too innocent, and almost too uninhibited for a young Amish woman?  Told with disarming humor!

Lizzie is the second of six children in an Amish family.  Her older sister, Emma, is the perfect Amish child.  She loves to cook, clean, sew and do anything domestic that Mam wishes.  Lizzie longs for "fancy" things such as high heel shoes and shorter dresses with ruffles.  She is always feeling that Emma is her parent's favorite.  She is a typical teenager dealing with her appearance and her weight while her sisters do not.  Once Lizzie turns 16, she starts going to Sunday signings with Emma and meeting new friends and boys.

I really enjoyed this book!  It is juvenille fiction instead of adult fiction but it was still fun to read.  I found it to be easy to read and it went by very quickly for me.  It reminded me of the Little House on the Prairie books which I loved as a child.  I enjoyed more details of everyday Amish living from an author who is Amish herself.  I am looking forward to starting When Strawberries Bloom tonight.  I am hoping that this book gets more into Lizzie and her "boy problems."

A special thanks to FSB Media and Good Books Publishing for allowing me to review this book for them.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hump Day Inspiration #21

Happy Wednesday to everyone!  This week's challenge over at Inktegrity is a sketch challenge.  Here it is:

Here is my card:

Stamps: Inktegrity - Mouse, Papertrey Ink - Daily Designs Sentiments
Paper: PTI White, Gina K Luxury White, Lovely Lilac, Pixie Pink, Lovely Lilac DP
Ink: Archival Jet Black, Copics
Accessories: SU Ticket Corner Punch, Ribbon

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hidden - Shelley Shepard Gray

Summary from Good Reads: When Anna decides it's time to leave her abusive boyfriend, she doesn't know where to turn. Rob has completely won over her parents, and the entire community, with his good looks and smooth charm. Only Anna has seen his dark side. Desperate, she runs to the only place she's ever felt completely safe -- the Amish Brenneman Bed and Breakfast, where Anna met life-long friend Katie Brenneman. The family welcomes her in, and with few questions asked allows her to stay, dressed in Plain clothing, and help around the inn.

Katie's older brother Henry is the only one who doesn't take too kindly to the intrusion. He tries to ignore Anna, knowing no good would ever come from caring for an Englisher like her. But as he gets to know Anna, he discovers her good heart and is surprised with her readiness to accept their lifestyle.

The more time Anna spends with the Amish, the more she feels she's found a true home. But how can she deny the life she left behind? And will her chance for happiness be stolen away by the man from her past?

Anna runs to Amish country to hide from her abusive boyfriend.  She lives at an inn that her friend Katie's family runs.  She does her fair share of chores, cooking and cleaning to earn her keep.  She even dresses Plain so that she is not noticed.  While she is there she creates a bond with Henry, Katie's older brother.  She also learns more about herself, her priorities and her faith.

I really enjoyed reading this book!  I read Grace last week and I had to start the series from the beginning so that I could learn more about all the great characters.  I really love Shelley Shepard Gray's style of writing.  I find that I read it quickly but still feel the depth of each and every character.  The next book in the series is Wanted followed by Forgiven.  I would highly recommend this series to anyone who loves Amish fiction!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sad News

Unfortunately, I have some sad news to share.  On Friday, we had to put down our 5 year old dog, Rusty.  He had been really sick, vomitting and diarreha, for about 2 weeks.  We brought him to the vet on Tuesday and without doing tons of tests, they had no clue what was wrong with him and sent us home with some medicine.  Well the medicine helped him hold things down, but he was not eating.  He also went from 29.5 pound last year to 19.3 pounds.  That is a dramatic weight loss for such a small dog.  Since things weren't improving, we transferred his records to an animal hospital for a second opinion.  She was baffled too so we agreed to start doing some tests, x-rays, blood work, heartworm test and lyme disease test.  When they did the x-rays, they noticed that there may be a blockage in his stomach so they wanted to do a barium test to see if it would flow through him.  If not, we agreed to pay $3 to $4 thousand to have surgery to remove the blockage.  That afternoon, we got a call from the doctor saying that the barium made it through him and that surgery was not needed.  Finally, a ray of hope until we got the second phone call.  They tested his blood and they discovered that he had critical kidney failure.  The doctor believed that he has been sick for a long time and possibly had it since birth.  At this stage in his disease, endless amounts of money would not help him and would only extend his life for 3-6 months in enormous amounts of pain.  We could not do that to him.  So unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to our dear friend.

Rusty was a wonderful and sweet dog!  He loved to go camping, kayaking, chasing my husband on his mountain bike and most importantly, he LOVED playing FRISBEE!!!  I'd like to share some pictures of Rusty with you.

My Christmas Present 2005

Playing Frisbee in Wells Beach, ME



Eating Birthday Cupcakes



Being Goofy

Rusty, we both love you more than anything and we miss you so much!  We could not let you suffer and you deserved better than that out of life.  We had a wonderful life with you even though it was only for 5 short years.  We miss you singing, barking at the pans, chasing squirrels, chasing bikers, sleeping in bed with us and sharing ice cream and popcorn with you.  You are in heaven now with your big brother, Brandy so you are not alone.  You will never be forgotten!  We love you!

Love, Mom & Dad

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Christmas Project #2

Here is my second, and final, Christmas project using dgital cutting files from Filekutz by LisaJane:

I thought that a snowman bookmark would bring some festive reading to someone special!

Paper: PTI Spring Rain, PTI Kraft, GP White, Creamy Caramel, Real Red, Basic Black
Ink: PTI Vintage Cream, PTI Enchanted Evening, PTI Tea Dyeing Duo

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hump Day Inspirations #20

Happy Wednesday!  Today's challenge over at Inktegrity is an Anything Goes!  Please stop by and play along for your chance to win a $5 gift certificate to the Inktegrity store.

Here is my card:

This image was available for FREE from the Inktegrity blog.  If you missed it, grab it HERE!

Stamps: Inktegrity - Spooky Gate & Sentiment
Paper: PTI White, Gina K Luxury White, Only Orange, DCWV Rock Star DP
Ink: Copics
Accessories: None

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sofa Table Runner

I made this runner for our sofa table this weekend.

I purchased the pattern from Connecting Threads called Geese in the Posie Patch.  It was the only runner that was narrow enough to not hang over the sofa table.

Since I have difficulty doing triangles, I thought that this was a small enough project to practice with.  I am very happy the way this came out!

My next quilting project is to make 2 place mats to match our living room for the pull up coffee table we just bought.  We are using the blue ones from the kitchen so I want to make some brown ones.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Squigglefly Challenge #72

Today's challenge over at Squigglefly is to make a Halloween or fall card.  Here is mine:

I thought that these stacked pumpkins were adorable.  I also colored the entire background for the first time to add some dimension to the colored image.  I really like the way it came out.

Stamps: Squigglefly - Stacked Pumpkins, Papertrey Ink - Fillable Frame #7
Paper: PTI White, Gina K Luxury White, Always Artichoke, Close to Cocoa, Unknown DP
Ink: Always Artichoke, Archival Jet Black, Copics
Accessories: Cuttlebug, PTI Fillable Frame #7 Die, Leaf Brads


On a non-craft related note, today is my dog Rusty's 5th birthday! I cannot believe that I have already had him for 5 years! Every year for his birthday, I make a batch of yellow cupcakes and leave 2 unfrosted for him. I know, he is spoiled rotten!!!

Happy Birthday Rusty!!!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Grace: A Christmas Sisters of the Heart Novel - Shelly Shepard Gray

Summary from Net Galley: It’s Christmastime at the Brenneman Bed & Breakfast, and everyone is excited about closing down for the holiday. Anna and Henry will be celebrating their first Christmas as a married couple, and for Katie and Jonathan Lundy, it’s their first Christmas with baby Stefan. Winnie and Samuel Miller plan to stop by as well for a wonderful two weeks of family and rest.

But when two unexpected visitors show up, hoping to stay for Christmas, the family must test their commitment to hospitality. Levi is a widower who lost his wife four years ago and can’t bear the thought of another Christmas alone. And Melody is a young pregnant woman who won’t open up about how she ended up on her own at Christmas at almost nine months pregnant. Anna, who knows a thing or two about keeping secrets, doesn’t trust her, and strives to find out the truth about these two strangers who have disrupted their holiday.

But as the Christmas spirit descends on them all, along with a snow that traps them at the inn, a healing and hopefulness takes over, allowing new relationships to be built, and the boundaries of family to be extended.
I loved how there were several stories unfolding at once.  First there was Melody.  She was a young unwed mother with a very sad story.  She went to the inn to have some relaxation before the baby is born.  Then there is Levi.  He was looking to forget his bad memories of Christmases past.  Along the way, Melody and Levi help each other get through the holiday.  Leah is Melody's English friend from home who travels to be with her on Christmas.  She has her own troubles and meets Zach along the way.

This was the first book that I have read by Shelley Shepard Gray and I loved it!  Although, in this book, the past three books of this series are mentioned quickly, I am eager to read all of them.  I am looking forward to starting Hidden next.

A special thanks to Net Galley and HarperCollins publishing company for allowing me to review this book before it is released on October 26, 2010.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Santa Face Tag

Here is my first project using a Christmas digital cutting files from Filekutz by LisaJane:

I thought that I would use the Santa Face (LK000114) cutting file to make a Christmas tag.  I added some Ice Stickles to give his cap some texture.

Stamps: SU - Bitty Backgrounds, Papertrey Ink - Mixed Messages (Sentiment)
Paper: GP White, Basic Black, Blush Blossom, Old Olive
Ink: Always Artichoke, Archival Jet Black

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hide in Plain Sight - Marta Perry

Summary from Good Reads: She couldn't turn her back on her family in their time of need.  So when her sister was injured, financial expert Andrea Hampton traded the big city for Amish country to help turn her grandmother's house into an inn.

But life with the Plain People took a treacherous turn when a string of accidents and pranks threatened her family. Someone didn't want the secrets the old house harbored to come to light. Trusting anyone— even the handsome carpenter who seemed so genuine—was a battle for Andrea, but her life depended on her ability to find the truth.

Andrea did not want to come to Amish country to help her grandmother and sister get the house finished for the grand opening of the inn.  When she arrives, the family is hit again and again with trouble.  Someone does not want this inn to open.  Thankfully, Cal is renting from Grams and lives in the barn.  Andrea relied on Cal for help and created and bond through it all.  In the end, Andrea finds a strong family bond, a new friendship and God while helping the family through several tragedies.

This is the first book that I have read from Marta Perry and Harlequin Love Inspires novels.  I was very pleased with the story!  For me, it was not the typical Amish stories that I am used to since the story took place in Amish country and the neighbors were Amish.  I am more used to having more Amish characters and culture than this book provided.  I am looking forward to reading the other two books in this series, A Christmas to Die For and Buried Sins.

Hump Day Inspirations #19

Happy Hump Day!  Here's another challenge from Inktegrity.  This week's challenge is a sketch challenge.  Here it is:

Here is my card:

I colored this image first and realized that when I cut it out that it was larger than I originally thought it would be.  I do like the way this looks anyways!

Stamps: Inktegrity - Everything's Okay Bouquet, Papertrey Ink - Fillable Frames #7 (Sentiment)
Paper: PTI White, Gina K Luxury White, GP White, PTI Raspberry Fizz, Always Artichoke, Unknown DP
Ink: Archival Jet Black, Copics
Accessories: Cuttlebug, Circle Nestabilitites (Classic)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Airplane Quilt

Here is a quilt that was ordered by a co-worker for her one year old nephew.

She requested airplanes, boyish colors, no flower prints, no orange, no pink and no purple.  So I think I covered it rather well.  This pattern took a little longer than normal since I am attempting to work with more detailed pieced blocks.  This pattern is called Stitched Leaves Pattern and I got it over at Connecting Threads.  Grab your copy of the block pattern HERE!  Instead of fussy cutting the centers, I embroidered two different airplanes for half of them and left white centers for the rest.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Happy Wedding Day

This is the last card from my order from last week.

I made this card to coordinate with a wedding invitation which was cream with brown birds, leaves and flowers.

Stamps: Inkadinkado - Birdhouse, Papertrey Ink - Delightful Dahlia (Sentiment)
Paper: PTI Vintage Cream. Chocolate Chip, Always Artichoke, SU DP
Ink: Chocolate Chip
Accessories: Cuttlebug, Ribbon Ended Tags, SU 1/4" Grosgrain Ribbon - Chocolate Chip