Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 Reading List

My goal every year is to read 25 books. This year I fell just short of my goal but I still feel like I accomplished a lot. You can always find my reading list on the sidebar of my blog.

1. The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier and Better Off Financially by Linda J. Waite, Maggie Gallagher
2. How to Get Your Child off the Refrigerator and on to Learning by Carol Barnier
3. Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
4. The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
5. Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd
6. So You're Thinking About Homeschooling by Lisa Whelchel
7. What Your 1st Grader Needs To Know by E.D. Hirsch Jr.
8. They Called Her Mrs. Doc by Janet Oke
9. A Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison
10. Cassidy by Lori Wick
11. The Mermaid in the Basement by Gilbert Morris
12. Absolute Beginner's Guide to Homeschooling by Brad Miser
13. Smart but Feeling Dumb by Harold N. Levinson, M.D.
14. The Exiles by Gilbert Morris & Lynn Morris
15. Sabrina by Lori Wick
16. Love Must Be Tough by James Dobson
17. The Vaccine Book by Robert W. Sears, M.D., F.A.A.P.
18. Jessie by Lori Wick
19. Medals Above My Heart by Carol McGlothlin & Brenda Pace
20. Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh Demoss
21. Wives of the Warriors by Ronda Sturgill
22. Sue Patrick's Workbox System by Sue Patrick
23. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, December 27, 2010

Tutorial: Book Binding: Creating the Cover

Awhile ago I learned book binding as a hobby, a way to express myself, and as an alternative to expensive store bought journals. I would like to share with you the knowledge that I've gleaned so that you too can create great looking journals. This is the second post in this series. You can find the first one HERE. Enjoy!

Skill Level: Intermediate

  • Fabric (cottons are the best)- you will need less then a fat quarter
  • Chip Board- available at most craft supply stores
  • Exacto Knife
  • Mod Podge- I used the Matte finish but you can use Gloss too
  • Acrylic Paint- optional (only need if your fabric is light colored)
  • Ruler and Pencil
  • Paint Brush
  • Brayer
  • Wax Paper
  • Your previously made journal pages
  • Something heavy

  1. Measure your journal pages. You'll need to know the length and width for the spine and the cover. My spine measures 1 inch X 8.5 inches. My covers measure 8.5 inches by 5.5 inches.
  2. Measure and cut out 2 covers and 1 spine from the chip board.
  3. Lay down your chip board covers and spine onto your fabric. Cut enough to have at least a 1 inch overlap on all sides.
  4. For my cover I've chose Michael Miller's Starling fabric and chosen a decorative plaid paper to match for the inside of the pages. The paper will be used in a future tutorial.
  5. If you are using a light fabric, like I am, paint your chip board. I had an off-white paint but it did the job perfectly and I can no longer see the dark chip board through the fabric. Let the chip board dry completely before moving on.
  6. Paint a layer of Mod Podge on to your chip board. While it's drying a little bit paint a layer of Mod Podge onto the back/wrong side of your fabric cover. Putting a layer of Mod Podge on both helps to ensure a good seal.
  7. Place one of your covers about an inch from the edge, place the spine 1/8 inch away the cover, and place the second cover 1/8 inch away from the spine. Leaving the 1/8 inch spaces next to the spine will allow your cover to bend closed!
  8. Flip your cover so the fabric cover is right side up and using your brayer, smooth out any air bubbles.
  9. Flip your cover back over and apply a layer of Mod Podge to the corners of the chip board and the corners of the fabric. Fold the corners over and roll out any air bubbles with your brayer.
  10. Apply a layer of Mod Podge to the edges of the chip board and the fabric and fold the edges over. Roll out any bubbles with your brayer. Apply a coat of Mod Podge to the edges to seal them up.
  11. Layer the journal cover with wax paper or kitchen paper. Place a couple of heavy books on top to keep the cover from warping and let dry overnight.

And this concludes the second post in my book binding series. You can find the first post HERE. Next week I'll show you how to put it all together!

I'd love to hear from you! Leave me a comment!


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We had a great Christmas! We ate tons of food, opened tons of gifts, & enjoyed the holidays. Here are a few picture memories for you all!

The corral my husband built to keep Jameson away from the fireplace

Jameson & his beautiful smile!

Ian- decorating cookies!



All the presents under the tree...

Ian- opening gifts Christmas morning

Both boys enjoying their new gifts!

Jameson and his big dump truck!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Decisions Made

Sometimes deciding things can be hard. Like what to eat for dinner or which fabric to use for a new apron. Or what to wear today and if I should clean the house or sew first.

But in all seriousness, we've had to make some big decisions lately.

Justin is up for promotion which is really great but it means some things will have to be decided. Justin is currently an E6/staff sergeant and he works out in the field, meaning he travels from location to location working on computers. Getting promoted means he won't be out in the field anymore. He has to go work at the National Guard state headquarters in Missouri which is in Jefferson City, the state capitol. Jeff City is 2 and a half hours away from where we currently live. The first decision we made was that we don't want to move. Not moving means Justin will either have to commute 4 hours a day or find a cheap apartment to stay in during the week. Both options would cost about the same and mean we don't have to uproot, pack, move, unpack, and get used to new surroundings. I don't know how long Justin will be working in Jeff City or where his job will lead once it's time for another promotion. I also know that he won't take up his new position until after he returns from deployment in 2013. We obviously have some time to wait but these decisions can't. Some people might wonder why we would choose to have Justin stay in the military and be away from us for so much time but we are looking way into the future. When he retires with full military benefits we will be taken care of medically & financially. This will especially be important for me as I am a homemaker, plan to continue being one even as my children grow, and because women live long then men and I'm a couple years younger then Justin, it means I will most likely out-live him.

Our last big decision we've made lately is that I'll be homeschooling Ian. He has been struggling in school quit a bit. Although somewhat better, he's still behind on reading. I feel that the school passed him on when he shouldn't have been. Not being able to read fully affects everything else in school and no one else has time to adjust things for him. He's also been having a lot of disciplinary problems. We've had a long year and a half, with the birth of Jameson and Justin being gone for half the time and the reading difficulties, it's been a stressful time. Ian acts out or has a hard time and because of that he's been labeled a bad or difficult child. I hate the thought that my child has to suffer with this label through the rest of his school years because the teachers can't or won't deal with him. I'm also not particularly impressed with the quality of the curriculum at the school or all the politics involved in everything. I was also told by a teacher that Ian was ADD/ADHD. She has no medical license to be making such a proclamation not to mention that this teacher has never liked Ian and has never given him good marks even though I know he does perfectly fine in his class. But I won’t get in to that right now.

I've wanted to homeschool for awhile but have had a hard time convincing Justin but after some recent problems he decided to give it a try. Even though he changed his mind I agreed to leave Ian in school until the end of the semester, which ended today. I've spent the last 2 months planning and preparing and scheduling and trying not to go crazy trying to plan school on such short notice. I have most everything figured out and am prepared to begin at the start of the new year. I'll be blogging about our adventures a little bit on here but mostly on http://www.harpersacademy.blogspot.com. It is a closed blog because there is a lot of personal information on it. If you’d like to read it then you'll have to let me know so I can approve and send you a invitation.

And that will conclude our decision making for now! Sometimes it's hard being a grown up!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tutorial: Book Binding: Creating the Pages

Awhile ago I learned book binding as a hobby, a way to express myself, and as an alternative to expensive store bought journals. I would like to share with you the knowledge that I've gleaned so that you too can create great looking journals. Enjoy!

Skill Level: Intermediate

  • Paper
  • Corner Punch- optional
  • Something to crease folds such as a bone folder
  • Pencil and Ruler
  • Something to punch holes with such as an awl
  • Large sharp sewing needle
  • Strong Thread such as book binding thread or hand-quilting thread
  • Glue and Paint Brush
  • Wax Paper
  • Binder Clips or something to hold the journal pages together

  1. Begin by using the corner punch to create decorative corners. I'm using a plain rounded corner punch but craft stores and online stores have all kinds of different options. You can also make different sized pages and journals by cutting them in half length or height wise. I am using a full sheet of 8.5"x11" paper for this journal.
  2. Group the pages by any number, for this journal I grouped 10 pages. Fold the pages in half and crease with your bone folder so there is a nice sharp crease through all the pages. Each group becomes a signature. For this journal I have 10 signatures for about 200 pages.
  3. Using the ruler and pencil, mark a dot 1 inch in from both edges on each signature. Depending on the size of your pages, you will need a total of 4 dots per group for the stitching. On my journal I have 2 groups and after marking the first dot I marked subsequent dots 3/4ths of an inch apart towards the center.
  4. Using your awl or sharp tool punch holes through each dot on each signature. I find it easiest to unfold each signature and pinch the pages together as I punch the awl through.
  5. Now comes the sewing! Thread your needle with the string thread and tie a knot 2-4 inches from the end. You'll need the long tail to secure your stitching. You'll be working with just 2 signatures at a time and works best when you have an even number of signatures. Once you learn the sequence the sewing becomes pretty quick.
  6. On your first signature go in #1, out #2, in #3, and out #4. Place your second signature below the first. Go in #5, out #6, go in #7 (also # 3 on the signature above), go out #8 (also #2 on the signature above), go in #9 on the second signature and out #10. Tie a knot with the string at the end of #1.
  7. Grab your next signature and place it underneath your previously completed pages. Go in #11, out #12, in #13 (also #9 on the signature above), out #14 (also #6 on the signature above), in #15, out #16. String the thread through the loop that was created between #4&5 on the signatures above.
  8. Grab your fourth signature and place it underneath your previously completed pages. Go in # 17, out #18, in #19 (also #15 on the signature above), out #20 (also #12 on the signature above), in #21, out #22. Tie a knot with the string from the end.
  9. Continue this sewing pattern until all your signatures are sewn together. Keep your string tight and squeeze the signatures together as you go so your binding isn't loose.
  10. When you are finished sewing apply a thick layer of glue to the spine and stitching. This will secure everything.
  11. Wrap the spine wax paper and clip closed with several binder clips. Allow to dry for at least an hour and overnight if possible.
And this concludes the first post in my book binding series. In the next few weeks I'll show you how to create the cover and put it all together.

I'd love to hear from you! Leave me a comment!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


This year I participated in an Ornament Exchange hosted by my sister, Tonya.

I made 4 needle tatted snowflakes. One went to Tonya and the other 3 went to 3 other crafters who also participated. (Needle tatting is a form of lace making, for those who don't know. I learned how to do it several years ago as a newly-wed stay-at-home mom/wife who needed something to do!)

I wanted to share what I made with you because I think they turned out really great!

I hope those who received them liked them too!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Crocheted Rag Rug Tutorial

These rag rugs are great to throw down in front of the kitchen sink, bathroom, or front door. They are washable and can be made to match your d├ęcor or the current holiday. The rug I made below is for Christmas!

Level: Beginner

For this project you'll need:

  • Fabric (I used 5 yards of green and 2 yards of red- use more or less depending on the size of rug you want!)
  • Scissors (to cut the strips)
  • A large crochet hook (I used a size 10mm/N hook)
  • A comfy place to sit and relax while you crochet

To make the fabric strips:

  1. Begin by snipping the selvage (the part with the company name/fabric info and is usually white). Rip the selvages off- toss them or let your little one run away with them.
  2. Square up the cut edge (not the selvage) by snipping and ripping off the extra fabric. You should have a square or rectangle shape now.
  3. Snip about an inch of fabric about an inch away from the edge (you can make your fabric strips any width but mine are about an inch wide).
  4. Rip the fabric down to the other edge, stopping an inch before you completely rip it off. Turn the fabric and make another snip and rip again. Continue around in a spiral, you are basically un-spiraling the fabric. If you accidentally rip the fabric off then you can reattach it with a zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine or straight-stitch by hand.
  5. Wind your new 'yarn' into a ball or put it in a baggie with the top tied closed and the end sticking out.

To crochet the rug:

  1. This rug requires a basic knowledge of the chain, single crochet and increase stitches. This project is great for beginners to learn how to crochet as it only uses basic crochet stitches and the yarn and hook are much easier to handle because they are large and intricate details aren't needed!
  2. Chain 12-20 stitches. Shorter for a smaller oval, longer for a larger oval. I used 12 for this rug.
  3. Turn the corner with 2 single crochet stitches and single crochet along the chain. Turn the corner by increasing 2 stitches.
  4. Continue crocheting around increasing as needed. If you increase too much your rug will become wavy. If you increase too little your rug will begin to cup.
  5. Attach different colors of fabric with a zig-zag stitch or straight stitch as you run out or want to switch colors.

Total Pageviews