Friday, January 28, 2011

A Hope for Hannah - Jerry S. Eicher

Summary from Good Reads: Growing more popular with each new novel (over 100,000 copies in combined sales), author Jerry Eicher continues the Hannah series with this intriguing glimpse into a young Amish couple’s early marriage. Hannah Byler is now married. She and Jake live in a small Amish community near Montana’s Cabinet Mountains, and the rough log cabin is far from everything Hannah holds dear. Anxious about her new role as wife and soon-to-be mother, Hannah understands she must learn to control her anxious heart if her marriage is to survive. Just as the young couple settles into their new routine, Jake loses his timber job and answers the call to ministry. With winter pressing in and money scarce, Jake and Hannah discover hardships can either drive them apart or draw them closer. Determined to find hope despite fearful conditions, they struggle to survive in this harsh land and bear their responsibilities with grace.

Jake and Hannah Byler are now married and live in a remote cabin in Montana.  Hannah is lonely and misses Indiana and her parents.  When things start going bad for them, she tries to talk Jake into moving to Indiana.  He feels that he is meant to be there and is not ready to give up.  Then something happens that makes him realize that they belong there.  As a new minister, Jake accepts his new responsibility although Hannah is not ready to be a minister's wife and deal with the burdens associated with it.  As a couple, they are hit with several challenges along the way.  With their faith and perservance, everything happens for a reason.

I enjoyed the continued story about Hannah from A Dream for Hannah.  I did feel that the story was little slower in this book, it was still well written and the characters were well developed.

I am looking forward to downloading his next series, A Wedding Quilt for Ella, which is due to come out on February 1, 2011.  I have it pre-ordered so I will have it right away.  I will be reading that after I read my book club book for this month.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

First Knitting Project Completed

Well I did it!  I finished my first knitting project.  Here it is:

I started this last Sunday when I took my first knitting class.  It only took me 8 days to complete it and I never picked up needles before.  My only complain is that I think that I made it to wide, I casted off 30 stitches.  I would rather have it longer than thicker.  It will still work though.  Don't you love the little bit of personality it has with the lump on on of the ends.  That's where I first started and I was accidentally adding stitched with each row.  Oops, I figured it out though!  I am very happy with it!

Yarn: Plymouth Yarn - Encore Worsted Tweed #5539
Needles: Size 8

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Little Miss Monkey Baby Quilt

I made this quilt as a requested from a co-worker for her friend who recently had a little girl.

Here is close up of the embroidery designs:

Since they are both from India, she wanted to use traditional Indian baby colors, bright and bold colors instead of pinks and purples.  The embroidery designs are from Embroidery Library and they are called Little Miss Monkey.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Beginner's Knitting Class

On Sunday, I went to my local quilt shop, Meeting House Fabric and Trim, for a beginner's knitting class with my neighbor Denise and her sister-in-law Carol.  I have never knitted before or even held needles.  My mom taugh me how to crochet but I can only do the straight chain to make a blanket, I can't even make granny squares.  The knitting classes are every Sunday from 1 to 4 pm and are reasonably priced at $12.50 per class.  The teacher was wonderful!!!  I may go back in a week or two to learn how to purl after I feel more comfortable and confident.

Before class, we went over to Mt. Laurel Yarn Boutique in Sturbridge, MA to get our materials.  I found this great yarn called Encore Tweed.  It was recommended by the shop owner since we were beginners.  We also found some nice size 8 birch wood needles in a 10" length made my Brittany.  This store was very helpful and informative.  I will be going back there again!

Here is what I have completed so far on my scarf:

I actually had several more rows completed but I pulled them out.  I had a couple of holes and I was adding more stitches to each row as I kept working.  I think I have figured out my problem now.  It was really fun and I am impressed that I picked it up so fast.  I was actually working on this last night while "actively watching" TV.

I am also looking to buy a book from Amazon to teach me more techniques with some easy projects.  I ended up picking Teach Yourself Visually Knitting for the kindle.  I thought I would try out a kindle book first that way I will always have the book with me and not have to lug one around.

I'll be sure to share a picture of the completed scarf when it is done!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Search - Suzanne Woods

Summary from Goods Reads: Fifteen years ago, Lainey O'Toole made a split-second decision. She couldn't have known that her choice would impact so many. Now in her mid-twenties, she is poised to go to culinary school when her car breaks down in Stoney Ridge, the very Amish town in which her long-reaching decision was made, forcing her to face the shadowed past.

Bess Reihl is less than thrilled to be spending the summer at Rose Hill Farm with her large and intimidating grandmother, Bertha. It quickly becomes clear that she is there to work the farm--and work hard. The labor is made slightly more tolerable by the time it affords Bess to spend with the handsome hired hand, Billy Lapp. But he only has eyes for a flirty and curvaceous older girl.

Lainey's and Bess's worlds are about to collide and the secrets that come to light will shock them both.

Beautifully written, The Search is a skillfully woven story that takes readers through unexpected twists and turns on the long country road toward truth. Fans both old and new will find themselves immersed in this heartwarming--and surprising--tale of young love, forgiveness, and coming to grips with the past.

Bess is sent to Stoney Brook, PA to spend the summer with her grandmother, Bertha, whom she have not seen since her grandfather's funeral several years ago.  Bertha is a tall, broad and very outspoken woman who appears to be very intimidating.  Once Bess settles into Rose Hill Farm, she connects with  Bertha.

Bertha sees Lainey O'Toole, an Englisher, working in a bakery in town.  They used to be neighbor's over 15 years ago.  Lainey has a secret that happened during an accident that she has been holding in all these years.  They become very friendly and these secrets are revealed and have an effect on Bertha, Bess and her father.  How will things play out?

This is the first book that I have read from Suzanne Woods Fisher.  It is also the third in the Lancaster County Secrets series.  I did not read the first two books but I will now!  I loved her writing style.  She has a great attention to details and strong character development.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves Amish fiction!
“Available January 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Dream For Hannah - Jerry S. Eicher

Summary from Good Reads: Having grown up in the Amish faith, author Jerry Eicher (over 100,000 copies in combined sales) treats his fast-growing readership to his firsthand knowledge in A Dream for Hannah. Hannah Miller’s Amish faith is solid. Her devotion to her family and Indiana community is unquestionable. Yet her young spirit longs for adventure and romance. As troubling circumstances give her good reason to spend the summer at her aunt’s Montana horse ranch, Hannah soon discovers she has much to learn about life and love. Her heart is awhirl with emotion as she dreams about her future. Sam, the boy Hannah has known all her life, is comfortable and predictable. Peter is the wild one, the boy who is on rumspringa. And Jake is unpredictable, intriguing, and living in the Montana wilderness. Hoping for a dream come true, Hannah must decide how to fulfill her heart’s desire while staying true to her faith.

Hannah is a seventeen year old Amish girl who has this perfect picture of love in her head from a poem she read.  When she meets Peter, she knows that he is the one.  But Peter is going through rumspringa is not the right influence for her according to her family.  When she decided to follow her heart, she gets caught by her parents and tragedy strikes.  Hannah cannot deal with it so her mother sends her to live with her aunt in Montana for the summer.

While she is in Montana, she is helping them run a stable and is enjoying the mountain lifestyle of the West and the small and new Amish community.  She starts receiving letters from Sam back home and she starts to believe that she should stop dreaming about love and do what is right and be with Sam.  But Hannah stays strong as she meets Jake, another lost Amish soul who left his home to spend some time alone after his girlfriend left him.  With a broken heart, he finds a job in Montana and gets involved in their Amish community.  Hannah and Jake start to become friends but this is only for the summer since she will be returning home.  Will their friendship become more?  Will Hannah do what is expected of her or will she follow her heart?

I must admit, I was a little skeptical about reading an Amish book by Jerry Eicher since all of his books received rather low ratings on Amazon.  Well one day I was poking around on Amazon and found it for under $3 so I decided to give it a try.  I loved it so much that I bought the next book in this series, A Hope for Hannah.  If you are interest, A Dream for Hannah is currently priced at $2.81 for the kindle.  If you enjoy Amish fiction, be sure to grab it, you will not be disappointed!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Nor'easter Hits MA!

OMG, it is amost 4:30 pm on Wednesday and it is still snowing here!  We easily have 20+ inches of snow or more at my house on top of the mountain in Wales.  My hubby even tried using my snowmobile in all of this white stuff and it was actually too much snow to play in.  I never thought that I would ever hear him say that!  LOL!  Right now, he is outside doing his third pass of the driveway with the snowblower.

Here are some pictures from my back deck (because I am not going outside today):

That is our patio set.  The snow is up to the table!

That is our gas grill.  Where is the gas tank?  Under all that snow!

So today I did about 3 hours of work that I brought home with me last night.  Then I decided to bake.  I made Cracked Top Molasses Cookies and Ginger Bars.  Yummy!  I read for a little while and I am now thinking about doing some quilting but my craft room is much cooler than the rest of the house so I may just read some more this evening in front of the pellet stove!

Oh yeah, here is something cool that I heard today while my hubby was watching The Weather Channel this morning.  As of today, all of the states in the United States, except for Florida, have snow!

*** UPDATE*** On the local news last night, it was reported that Monson and Wales received the largest amounts of snow of over 30 inches!!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sarah's Garden (Patch of Heaven #1) - Kelly Long

Summary from Good Reads: When Sarah realizes that she has fallen in love with an Englisch doctor, she must choose between loving a man and losing her family.

Deep in the heart of Pennsylvania's Allegheny Mountains, shy Sarah King is happiest when working in her vibrant Amish kitchen garden, but new family responsibilities lead her into the confusing world of the Englisch.

Sarah finds her life turned around when she encounters the community's new Englisch veterinarian, Grant Williams. His blue-gold eyes and his obvious concern for her people attract her immediately. Sarah seeks solace and direction from the Lord as she creates a quilt pattern which details her struggle between two worlds.

The Lord is guiding Sarah to follow His will, but will she listen?

Sarah is a very shy and faithful Amish woman who is 20 years old and not married.  She is given the responibility of managing the farm stand at the end of their driveway.  She is very nervous since she has never dealt with Englishers.  Then she meets her new neighbor, Dr. Grant Williams.  He is an honest man looking to make friends and become accepted by the Amish communiy as the new vet.

As time goes on, Sarah starts to develop feelings for Grant and Grant feels the same but is more vocal about his thoughts and feelings.  Their friendship begins to bloom as she assists in preparing a kitchen garden for him at his house.  But there is more growing between them than should.  Will Sarah leave her faith, family and community to follow her heart???

I am really looking forward to reading the next book in this series, Lilly's Wedding Quilt, which is due out in April 2011.  I love Kelly Long's writing style and character development.  As a quilter myself, I loved how she used it to help Sarah think through and work out her problems.

Friday, January 7, 2011

An Amish Love - Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, and Kelly Long

Summary from Book Sneeze: Two of today's most popular genres--Romance and Amish fiction--together in one volume.

"Healing Hearts" by Beth Wiseman: Levina Lapp and her husband Naaman are alone for the first time in 30 years. When Naaman left to visit cousins in Ohio, Levina wasn't expecting him to be gone a year. Now that he's back, will they be able to move beyond this estrangement and fall in love again?

"What the Heart Sees" by Kathleen Fuller: A tragic accident rocks a peaceful Amish community, leaving Ellie Chupp blinded and Christopher Bender's future shattered. But they find love and forgiveness in a place they least expect.

"A Marriage of the Heart" by Kelly Long: Rachel Yoder is tired of her Amish lifestyle and her domineering father's ways. When handsome Joseph Lambert comes back from the Englisch, she lies to force a marriage of convenience, providing the perfect means to escape her father's rule. But Rachel never imagined she'd fall in love with Joseph so quickly or irrevocably.

"A Marriage of the Heart" was a very touching story about a couple who entered into marriage for the wrong reasons and found love in their companionship.  It shows that first you should be best friends before becoming man and wife and that a strong friendship builds the basis for a strong marriage.

"What the Heart Sees" tells a story about some friends who have had to deal with a terrible car accident that took one of their lives.  Someonw was banned, someone died and someone is blind ... who is to blame?  Can everyone find peace and forgiveness so they may move on in their lives?

"Healing Hearts" is a wonderful non-traditional Amish romance story about a husband and wife re-discovering their love after their family has grown up.

I enjoyed all three stories because they were a little different from the traditional Amish romance stories.  I found it rather cute that each story took place in Paradise, PA and characters from the other novellas were mentioned in each.  I have never read anything by any of the three authors but I will read more from them in the future.

A special thanks goes out to the publishers at Book Sneeze for allowing me to review this book for them!

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.”

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

60 Sucks!

I made this for my boss who turned 60 today!

I originally saw this over on Split Coast Stampers.  I have been wanting to make this for someone who was entering a new decade who would appreciate it.  So I won't get a good raise this year but that's okay!  LOL!

Stamps: JustRite Stampers - 1-5/8" Circle Border & Centers, JustRite Stampers - Time Roman Uppercase - 95 Point
Paper: GP White, Brilliant Blue
Ink: Archival Jet Black
Accessories: Cuttlebug, Papertrey Ink - Limitless Layers - 1-3/4" Circle Collection, SU 1-3/4" Circle Punch, Lollipops, 3/16" Dowels, 1/4" Scor-Tape, Foam Square, Metal Bucket, Decorative Rocks (as weight for bottom)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Celtic Knot Simple Patch Quilt

I made this quilt for my co-worker who had her second child back in October.  Today is her first day back to work from her maternity leave so I wanted to have this ready for her.

Since she is Irish, I thought that I would make her son, Gavin, a quilt to display his heritage.  I used two different Celtic knots.  The circle one symbolizes eternity and the cycle of life and the square one symbolizes protection.  I hope it will protect him and keep him warm and safe for many years to come!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy 2011!

Happy New Year Everyone!

So what are your New Year's Resolutions?  Here are mine:

1) Get back within my goal weight at Weight Watchers!

2) Read more and add some variety too!

3) Communicate with others more by phone, email or blog comments!

4) Have better control over my spending on craft supplies and kindle books!