Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Plain and Simple Christmas - Amy Clipston

Summary from Good Reads: In the tradition of her widely popular Kauffman Amish Bakery series, author Amy Clipston tells the tale of Anna Mae McDonough who was shunned by her family four years ago when she left her Amish community in Lancaster County, PA, to marry an Englisher (non Amish) man and move with him to Baltimore. Now, eight months pregnant when her first child, she longs to return home for Christmas to reconcile with her family, especially her stern father, who is the religious leader for her former Amish church district.  So Anne Mae writes a letter to Kathryn Beiler, her brother's wife, to enlist her help. Kathryn asks her husband, David, if she should arrange Anna Mae's visit. David cautions her that a visit would cause too much stress in the family and instead suggests they visit Anna Mae and her husband in the spring. However, Kathryn arranges the visit anyway, believing in her heart that it's God's will for the family to heal.When Anna Mae arrives in Lancaster for Christmas, she doesn't receive the welcome she expects and her world begins to fall apart, leaving her to question her place in her family and her faith in God.

A book filled with love, the pain of being separated from one's family, and the determination to follow God's will regardless of the outcome, A Plain and Simple Christmas is an inspiring page-turner that will keep you guessing what happens next right to the very last page.

Anna Mae and her Englisher husband, Kellan, want to visit Anna's family at Christmas.  They are expecting their first child and wants the child to know her family.  After being shunned from her family for three years, she longs to see all of them and have them back in her life.  She contacts her sister-in-law, Kathryn, to discuss the idea and to make plans for their visit.  Will her family welcome her with open arms?  Will it be a Christmas miracle to reconcile?

I loved this story!  I have read several Amish stories that involved shunned family members and this one showed how a shunning affects the whole family.  Some family members welcomed her openly, some were reserved and others forbidded to even talk to her.  In this story, Anna Mae has a wonderful, loving and caring Christian husband who care for her dearly.  Since he has no family of his own left, except for a sister in California, he is willing to help make ammends with Anna's family.  It shows how families can come together and reconcile with upcoming births especially at the holidays.  Thanks Amy for another wonderful Amish Christmas book!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Christmas Singing: A Romance from the Heart - Cindy Woodsmall

Summary from Good Reads: After Gideon coldly broke her heart, can the warmth of the season revive Mattie’s hopes?
Mattie thought her childhood sweetheart adored her until he abruptly ended their engagement on Christmas Eve.

Three years later, will learning the truth behind his rejection restore her Christmas joy – or open the door to even deeper heartbreak?
Spend Christmas with the Amish in this story of love, romance, heartache, and restoration.

When Mattie loses everything athat she had worked so hard for in a fire, she returns home to visit her mother around the holidays. When she arrives, she runs into Gideon, her former boyfriend, which she has not seen in three years. They ended on hard term believing that he was in love with an Englisher. Yet he was hiding the truth to protect Mattie. Will Mattie find out the truth? Will she forgive him and reconcile?

I really enjoyed this book! It is the first that I have read from Cindy Woodsmall and it will not be my last. But I must admit one thing, this book made me hungry. As Mattie describes the different cakes she made for Lizzie and Beth to sample for their wedding cakes. I wish I cold have sampled them! LOL! The was a delightful Christmas story that warmed my heart.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Naomi's Gift: An Amish Christmas Story - Amy Clipston

Summary from Good Reads: Take a trip to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, where you'll meet the women of the Kauffman Amish Bakery in Lancaster County. As each woman's story unfolds, you will share in her heartaches, trials, joys, dreams ... and secrets. You'll discover how the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle can clash with the 'English' way of life---and the decisions and consequences that follow. Most importantly, you will be encouraged by the hope and faith of these women, and the importance they place on their families.

Naomi's Gift re-introduces twenty-four-year-old Naomi King, who has been burned twice by love and has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches---a time of family, faith, and hope for many others---Naomi is more certain than ever her life will be spent as an old maid, helping with the family's quilting business and taking care of her eight siblings. Then she meets Caleb, a young widower with a 7-year-old daughter, and her world is once again turned upside-down. Naomi's story of romantic trial and error and youthful insecurities has universal appeal.

Author Amy Clipston artfully paints a panorama of simple lives full of complex relationships, and she carefully explores cultural differences and human similarities, with inspirational results. Naomi's Gift includes all the details of Amish life that Clipston's fans enjoy, while delivering the compelling stories and strong characters that continue to draw legions of new readers.

Naomi King has been heartbroken twice and has been labeled as an "eager" woman.  Caleb comes into town for the Christmas holiday to spend time with his family in Lancaster County.  He is a widower with a seven year old daughter, Susie.  Susie meets Naomi at the famer's market while she is working at the quilt stand for her family's store.  Susie is instantly connected to Naomi and their friendship blossoms the more time they spend together.  Caleb wants to meet Naomi but his nosy sister Sadie has someone else in mind for him.  Will Caleb and Naomi become friends?  Will Caleb go back to Ohio?  Will Naomi's heart get broken again?

I love these books!  The characters are so well developed!  I loved how Amy brought the familiar characters from the Kauffman series back for this festive holiday read.  After the holidays, I am going to sit down and finish the Kauffman Bakery series because I fall in love with them each time.  There are several Christmas Amish books that I would like to read before the holiday first.  Thanks Amy for another great story!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Americana Granny

Here is another set of my MIL's Christmas dishcloths:

Here is a close up:

I'm still not sure how I feel about this pattern of dishcloth with striped yarn.  I guess that I am expecting it to work out evenly and it never will.  I'll have to get over it!

Yarn: Lily's Sugar N' Cream #23705 - American Stripes
Hook: US 4.5/G

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lydia's Charm - Wanda E. Brunstetter

Summary from Good Reads: Visit Amish Country during the fall as Lydia King attempts to make Charm, Ohio, feel like home after losing her husband. But is her heart ready to open back up to love when gifts appear on her porch from a mystery source? Could it be from the widowed father of four energetic boys, or is it from the man who has rejected romance to be his family’s caregiver? When life hands Lydia another challenge, will the gift giver be there to support her?

Lydia moves from Illinois back to Ohio to be with her mother and grandfather.  She lost her husband and her job and has nothing holding her there.  As she gets to know people in the new community, she first meets Levi who works in the general store owned by his parents.  Then she meets Menno who is a widower with four active boys.  Menno is looking for a wife and mother to his four boys.  Lydia has many challenges in Charm including finding a new love.  What will become of Lydia in Charm?  Was the move worth it?

I loved this story by Wanda Brunstetter.  Lydia's story is a rough one with too many losses for one person to deal with in a short period of time.  But it proves that with family and faith, she could make it through it.  I loved how this story ended, it made me happy!

Thanks to Net Galley and Barbour Publishing for allowing me to review this book!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy 39th Birthday to Me!

Wow, I can't believe that this is my 39th birthday.  Where did the time go???

Here is a picture of Jay and I with two celebrities whose birthdays are also today:

This picture is from our trip to Walt Disney World from last year.  Jay took me there for my birthday so we could celebrate it together!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ruby's Morning Clory Blue Dishcloth

Here's another set of my MIL's Christmas dishcloths:

Here is a close up:

I love making this pattern with solid colored yarn!

Pattern: Ruby's Dishcloth by Jill Foerster
Yarn: Lion Brand Lion Cotton Solid #108 - Morning Glory Blue
Hook: US 3.75/F

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ruby's Red Dishcloth

Here is my first set of dishcloths for my MIL for Christmas:

Here is a close up:

She requested lots of homemade dishcloths for Christmas.  She loves how they come out and how well they work in the kitchen.  She'll have more than plenty for quite a while once I am done making all of these.

Pattern: Ruby's Dishcloth by Jill Foerster
Yarn: Lion Brand Lion Cotton Solid #112 - Poppy Red
Hook: US 3.75/F

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Panorama Fire Blossom Dishcloth

I decided to make my first round dishcloth.  Here it is:

I really liked how this turned out.  This was also my first time using front post double crochets (FPDC).  I like the way they came out.

Pattern: Fire Blossom Dishcloth
Yarn: Peaches N' Creme #278453 - Panorama
Hook: US 5/H

Monday, November 14, 2011

Finished Bird Cage Blanket

Here is the finished bird cage blanket:

I attached the block by doing a single crochet with the back sides facing each other.  Then after attaching all the squares and rows, I added a single crochet border to tie it together followed by a double crochet row and finishing it with a single crochet.  I really like the way this came out!

Pattern: None
Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver - Navy
Hook: US 5/H & US 5.5/I

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Baby Blanket Square

We discovered that we needed one more 12" square for the co-worker's baby blanket that we are making.  So I made one more:

I did 9 rounds of pattern followed by one round of single crochets to finish it!

Pattern: Granny Dishcloth #2412 by Bernat Design Studio
Yarn: Lion Brand's Vanna's Choice #000 - Linen
Hook: US 8/H

Friday, November 11, 2011

Granny Loves Licorice

Here's another set of Granny dishcloths:

Here is a close up of the first one:

Here is a close up of the second one:

I like these so much better using the smaller hook and varigated yarn!  This project combines my current two favorite projects: dishcloths and granny squares!  Love it!

Pattern: Granny Dishcloth #2412 by Bernat Design Studio
Yarn: Peaches N' Creme #210 - Licorice
Hook: US 7/G

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Granny Dishcloths in Pinky Stripes

Here are some cool granny square dishcloths:

Here is one up close:

I like how these turned out!  I am going to make them again but I am going to use a smaller hook to make it a little tighter.  Plus I am going to use a varigated yarn versus a stripped yarn.

Pattern: Granny Dishcloth #2412 by Bernat Design Studio
Yarn: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton #00732 - Pinky Stripes
Hook: US 8/H

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bird Cage Blanket - Block #2

Here are the rest of of the blocks for the bird cage blanket:

Color #1

Color #2

Color #3

Color #4

Oops, I miss counted.  I had to make 2 more of the light blue and green to  make a square blanket.  I did not get pictures of them since I added the border too.  Next, I need to add a border to each block, attach them and add a final border to the whole blanket.

Pattern: Free SmoothFox's Charity Square Nbr 2 by Donna Mason-Svara
Yarn: Wintuk Omber #3028 - Spice & Red Heart Super Saver - Rainbow Brights & Lion Brand Vanna's Choice #173 & #105
Hook: US 8/H

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ruby's White Dishcloths

Here's a new crocheted dishcloth pattern:

Here is a close up:

I love this pattern!  It creates a nice thick texture!  I may use this pattern again!

Pattern: Ruby's Dishcloth by Jill Foerster
Yarn: Lily's Sugar N' Cream #18001 - White & #01317 - Hot Purple
Hook: US F

Monday, November 7, 2011

Heaven is for Real - Todd Burpo

Summary from Good Reads: A young boy emerges from life-saving surgery with remarkable stories of his visit to heaven.

Heaven Is for Real is the true story of the four-year old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who during emergency surgery slips from consciousness and enters heaven. He survives and begins talking about being able to look down and see the doctor operating and his dad praying in the waiting room. The family didn't know what to believe but soon the evidence was clear.

Colton said he met his miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about, and his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born, then shared impossible-to-know details about each. He describes the horse that only Jesus could ride, about how "reaaally big" God and his chair are, and how the Holy Spirit "shoots down power" from heaven to help us.

Told by the father, but often in Colton's own words, the disarmingly simple message is heaven is a real place, Jesus really loves children, and be ready, there is a coming last battle.

I read this book for my neighborhood book club.  It was a very easy and casual read.  I loved Colton!  He is a 4 year old who is wise beyond his years.  After his encounter with Jesus in heaven, he shares his discoveries with his parents so a matter of factly.  He shared details about heaven that he would only have known by reading the bible thoroughly.  It was nice to hear about heaven through the eyes of an innocent child.  I'm very glad that I read this book!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bird Cage Blanket - Block #1

I am making a blanket to go over my MIL's bird cage.  Here are 4 of the blocks:

Color #1

Color #2

We are bird sitting for her for 2 weeks while she is in Aruba!   I thought it would be a nice surprise!

Pattern: Free SmoothFox's Charity Square Nbr 1 by Donna Mason-Svara
Yarn: Wintuk Ombre #3028 - Spice & Red Heart Super Saver - Rainbow Brights
Hook: US 8/H

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Crochet Hook Pocket - Rainbow Brights

Here's a cool crochet hook pocket that I made this past Sunday:

I made this for a co-worker who laughs on me because I love gadgets!  She keeps all her crochet hooks in a ziplock bag.  When I found this pattern, I had to make it for her!

Pattern: Crochet Hook Pocket by Erin Doutre
Yarn: Red Heart Multi - Rainbow Brights
Hook: US 7/G
Accessories: Button

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Blue Banana Dishcloths in Purple & White

Here's something new for me:

I am making my first dishcloth using two colors at the same time!  Here they are separately:



This pattern was easier than I thought it would be!  I'll be doing more of these soon!

Pattern: Blue Banana Dishcloth by Chrissy Gardiner from Lion Brand Yarn: Just Gifts
Yarn: Lily's Sugar N' Cream #01317 - Hot Purple & #18001 - White
Needles: US 7 on 24" Cables