Monday, May 27, 2013

Book Review: Christy ~ Catharine Marshall

 Click HERE to purchase Christy...
On hearing a missionary speak about the great need in Appalachia, nineteen year old Christy Huddleston feels called to go to the heights of Cutter Gap to teach the children there.  She feels a strong urging to take a leap of faith and to make her life count for something...  She has no idea what to expect...

Christy travels from her comfortable home and her loving parents and brother to the Appalachian Mountains where life is completely different – the people are poor but very proud and set in their ways.  As Christy begins to teach school, she is faced with more challenges than just the lack of textbooks.

At times she feels despondent, convinced she is failing, but through the grace of God and much perseverance on her own part, Christy finds herself changed forever and led to an even fuller life than she could ever have imagined...

“An absolutely inspiring read – challenging and encouraging.  Beautifully written!”

Note:  I would only recommend reading this book to those over the age of 15/16.  

To view more reviews, click here...

Sunday, May 26, 2013

52 Crafts in 52 Weeks – Week Eighteen

One of my favourite crafty magazines, Crafts Beautiful Magazine (UK), was my source of inspiration for last week’s craft day.  I decided to sew the button heart featured in the January 2013 edition.  A few years ago, though, I didn’t feel the need to learn how to sew.  I am so glad I had a turn-around, because these little hearts were so much fun to make and sew!

If you would like to make one of these adorable hearts (which look so sweet hung on a chair or bedpost or even on the wall), visit Crafts Beautiful website here.  You will need to order a back issue before making it.  If you are a craft lover, I would definitely recommend buying it every month.  Each magazine comes with a free gift as well as loads of projects (stitch craft, baking, paper craft and more) to try.

As you can see, I am almost caught up after a few crazy weeks.  I am finding new inspiration every day and looking forward to more craft projects in this lovely challenge!

Crafty greetings!

Monday, May 20, 2013

52 Crafts in 52 Weeks - Week Seventeen

Here we are at week number seventeen already..!  I am a craft or two behind, granted, but on the whole, I think we’ve done very well!  And I have some gorgeous ideas lined up which I’m hoping to try very soon, so do stay posted! 

In this post I told you about the Mother’s Day Brunch my sister, Nancy, and I planned.  We decided to use as many things we had made ourselves as the decor.  We strung up my handmade bunting, as well as used a chandelier created by Nancy out of vintage cutlery.  I thought that the lace imprinted plaster of Paris hearts featured in the September 2011 edition of Country Homes & Interiors Magazine (UK) would be beautiful as table settings...

And so they were.  Each family member received a pretty heart next to their teacup. 

I wouldn’t put this down as a very simple or easy craft, but it is fairly quick.  It takes some time to perfect, so allow plenty of room for experimentation with different lace designs, etc.  In case you would like to make one for yourself or as a gift for a friend, I have copied out the instructions for you.  For more lovely craft ideas, photography inspiration, sweet treats and gift ideas, view my recently updated Pinterest page here!

Plaster Hearts

You Will Need

Kitchen Foil
Offcut of heavyweight lace
Heart-shaped cookie cutter
Plastic straw
Plaster of Paris


1.  Place a piece of kitchen foil on your worksurface and lay the lace offcut centrally on top.
2.  Grease the inside of the cookie cutter with Vaseline and place this on op of the lace.  Lift the foil from the surface and mould it around the cookie cutter.  Cut a 5cm piece of plastic straw and keep it close to hand (this will form a hole in the plaster to allow the ribbon to be threaded through).
3.  When mixing plaster of Paris always follow the manufacture's instrcutions.  The plaster sets very quickly so make it in small batches to avoid wastage.  In a plastic jug, mix a small quantity of plaster of Paris then without delay and holding  the straw in place near the top of the heart shape (as in the picture), pour the plaster into the cookie cutter mould until it reaches the top.  (note:  I decided to make mine a little thinner.)  Continue to hold the straw in place for a minute or so.
4.  Leave for an hour to allow it to set completely, then carefully peel away the foil and push the plaster heart downwards to free it from the mould.  Turn the heart over and gently lift off the lace to reveal the pattern.  Remove the plastic straw and thread a length of ribbon through the hole.  Hang in place.   

Till next time, dear friends!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Mother’s Day Brunch

This Mother’s Day my sister, Nancy, and I decided to do something extra special for our mom.  She is so special and gives us so much - without her, life would be so different, so empty. 

She is the wonderful woman who sacrificed her life for the Lord – gave up her dreams and plans to become a full-time wife and mother; a keeper at home.  She is the lady who is training her six daughters to love and serve their family and to one day become helpmeets to their husbands and mothers to their children. 

She is not afraid to fail as she believes failure strengthens and builds one’s character.  She isn’t afraid to apologise when she makes a mistake and I respect her for that. 

She has chosen to keep her children at home, teaching them about God and life as well as math and grammar.  She is the gardener, seamstress, teacher, crafter, cook, Bible lover and amazing person I am proud to call my mother.  She doesn’t have it easy with us, yet she keeps strong and inspires.  She deals with bad attitudes and spats more than she has time to read a good book, and kisses away ouches and sore hearts more than she has time to sew a stitch in something lovely for herself.  And yet she feels blessed to do that! 

I am not saying she is perfect, I know she makes mistakes – as we all do, but her heart is ready and open for the Lord and I love her for that.  I know that she loves the Lord with all her heart and prays continually for help in becoming the wife and mother described in Proverbs 31.


When we began to plan something for her, I knew it would have to be really special, not because she expects that, but because I love her and appreciate all she does for us. 

Two weeks before Mother’s Day, Nancy and I started to jot down ideas – we first settled on a tea party, but a few days later Mom unexpectedly woke up with a terribly painful back, which had her on bedrest for three days solid.  This of course threw all our ‘plans’ into the air since we weren’t able to do much organising while running after little ones and cooking meals.  But God thinks differently and sees more...  We ran the household for those few days, at which Nancy exclaimed “I never knew Mom did this much!” 

A week before and I knew a tea wouldn’t work...  A few days before and it looked like nothing would be happening on Sunday.  When I shared my doubts with Nancy I could see how disappointed she was.  “Can’t we just do something?” she pleaded.  I realized that we did indeed need to prepare some sort of party for our mother.  Life is usually so busy that we sometimes forget to just enjoy each other’s company.  It is really only at meal times that we connect together as a family, which got me to thinking that a light brunch might be just the thing...

I knew I could pick up a few things at the market where Nancy and I work on the Saturday, and that we had quite a few things in our vintage collection for making the table pretty.

Nancy and I spent three full days preparing – writing out shopping lists, deciding on what things we should bake, etc.  We gathered all our goodies, dumped them in my room and closed the door.  Whenever we had a spare moment we went into the room and did something crafty towards out brunch.  Of course Mom suspected we were up to something – all children know moms and dads have eyes in the backs of their heads and nothing escapes their attention – but we decided to be as calm about it as we could and not draw too much of her attention!  And when she wasn’t looking, we printed out pretty things for the table and checked on supplies. 

By Saturday afternoon we had all the ingredients we needed.  Mom and Dad were out with the family in town that afternoon, so Nancy and I quickly made all we could that wouldn’t be stale by the next day.  Dad was in on the secret but fortunately gave nothing away...

Sunday morning’s work started at around 6:30am.  All of us sisters worked together at baking the last of the edibles, setting the table, arranging the decor and gathering the cutlery and crockery.  After giving her an invite, Mom was requested to remain in her room for the morning while we got ready, mainly because we wished her to avoid the chaos erupting in the kitchen.  By 11:30am, brunch was ready, the table finished and the family dressed for the occasion.  The weather was perfectly glorious and I can only say “Thank you Lord!” for that!

You must know that nothing gets done lightly around here!  We go all out at celebrations and enjoy any festivity our busy calendar allows.  We girls put together this brunch on our own – we planned and shopped for it without help (although I did try to explain everything to my very patient dad) and I am so happy to say it turned out beautifully!  It really was like a party!  Mom was so surprised!

The complete table...

To add that personal touch to the table we tied tulle bows to each of the chairs...

I printed the menu onto a piece of pretty scrapbook paper...

Coffee Cake...

Delicious tuna and mushroom mini quiches.  Nancy made mini flags with toothpicks to stick into each little quiche.  We placed them on white paper bags instead of plates and served them on a bed of rocket.

Miss Beth enjoying tea...


I love this vintage-style birdcage.  Nancy placed a vase of flowers inside it for extra detail...

Homemade Croissants...

I printed each person’s name onto a small piece of scrapbook paper.  I then sanded the edges of the paper to give it a vintage type of look.  Nancy put the little sweeties she had made into a bag and attached the name tag to the packet with a pretty piece of ribbon.  It was so simple yet so effective!

 Miss Gabrielle...

My dear inventive sister, Nancy, made this on Sunday morning while I was juggling butter and jam and rising croissants.  She took an old lampshade and strung vintage forks, knives and spoons onto it using different ribbons and lace.  She then hung it above the table as a ‘chandelier’.  It looked absolutely gorgeous!  This is a fun way to reuse old cutlery that cannot be used.

I used a mosquito net to create a sort of ‘covering’ for the brunch.  We hung it up in the tree and hooked pieces of the tulle to different branches.  It gave the area a fairytale look.

Fruit Medley in jars topped with Yoghurt, Pecan Nuts and Raw Honey...  Oh my goodness these were so good!  If you don’t have pretty glasses to serve a dessert in, why not use jars?  They are so effective!

This was a divine cake.  A definite keeper!

Mom has told us many times before that she has no expectations of Mother’s Day.  Instead of expecting her children to make her day special (which too often doesn’t happen), she chooses to see it as a day of true thanksgiving – thanksgiving for all her blessings and the privilege of being a mother at home.  You can image how blessed she felt at having a whole party and day dedicated to her!

What a blessing to be able to serve your family!

Mom, you are so special and being able to do something for you was a pleasure!  Xx

P.S.  The recipes for the Fruit Medley and Coffee Cake can be found in the May issue of Ideas Magazine.