What to read after Harry Potter…

I have never been a “book worm” nor did I ever have a time I fell in love with books… however, I did always dream of having children that loved reading and books… So much so in fact that at my first baby shower I asked that instead of cards that attendees bring a copy of a favorite children’s book to start a little library for our home.  Skip ahead eleven years and two of my children are now avid readers and finished with the Harry Potter series, having LOVED them.  Mission accomplished.  Now, what?

When parenting and you find yourself traversing new waters, always surround yourself with wise people that have gone before you and ask a bazillion questions.  Enter Mrs.Xerxes. My oldest has had her as a class day tutor for two separate years.  She is an avid reader, and my daughter thinks she is the coolest adult around. (This might have something to do with the day she dedicated to her whole class to H.P. for the room full of Potterheads.) Awhile back, I started bugging her to compile a list of books for the post Harry Potter blues, and per usual, she delivered!

So, if you too are looking for what to read next, or where to point your kids for post-Harry Potter reading jump over here for the Celebrity Death Match.

You are welcome!

Joy

Really feeling the Christmas spirit this year, the joy, hope, peace, and expectation. I totally get that not every year is filled with all the good feels…some years it’s just plain hard. We’ve had our share of painful years! This year, I’m soaking up all the feels!

I wanted to add a little more cheer to our home, and after seeing a similar set of pillows at Target, I decided to make myself a set that wasn’t felt and will hopefully hold up longer!

Finish it up Friday: Trees! 

After two years on my WIP list, this is finally ready for Christmas time snuggles.

Amanda Jean’s   Trees! Quilt is the perfect addition to my home’s festive decor.

I think handmade Christmas is best, including his little clay Nativity we made a few years back with my friend Esther is perfect for little hands to play with and I don’t stress over it getting broken!

The quilt has a nice heavy weight from all the skinny strips.    

I loved being able to use some small scraps I have collected over the years. I only purchased one fat quarter to finish the top!

The back and binding is this fun find from Target.  They clearance out their college extra long twin bedding and I am there to snatch up the discounts.  I think gold is the original Christmas color!  (Wise men bringing gifts to celebrate baby Jesus! ) 

Yup, ready for cozy early morning snuggles all season long!  

Vintage Sheets Make Me Swoon!

As a young girl, I was obsessed with how my grandmother’s sheets smelled.  Is that weird?

When I’d visit and snuggle into bed at night, I felt so safe and so warm and loved.  I associated the scent of her detergent mixed perfectly with her perfumed skin care products with that “I am so loved” feeling.  She was so dear to me, and today she’d be 87. Happy Birthday, Grandma Dorla!

I am now obsessed with collecting vintage sheets!  When my friend asked me to make a quilt for her baby girl and to use a vintage sheet she had found, my mind raced to all the fun extras I could make to go with the quilt.  We settled on this classic variable star quilt block.

I grabbed my Patchwork Essentials book by Jeni Baker.  I used her Eight-at-a-time half square triangle technique to make EIGHT 5.5in half square triangle blocks using the sheet and some high-quality unbleached muslin. Then I cut FOUR solid blocks 5.5in from the muslin and ONE 10.5in block from the sheet.  Arranged my block and sewed it together.

Gave it a little hand stitching using some vintage heavyweight thread, and I mixed in a little straight line quilting.

To give it a nice clean finish I modified S.O.T.A.K Handmade’s Tutorial for this hidden zippered closure.  My zipper wasn’t quite long enough, so I made do with what I had and gave a few extra stitches here and there to secure it all down.   (The zipper was 18in, and my pillow is 20in finished.)  NOTE:  If you use SOTAK’s tutorial, which is incredible, be sure you catch the zipper tape in the very last step!)


Make Do and Mend Monday: Kitchen Rug Redo! 

After searching for new black and white kitchen rugs and coming up empty handed on either size or style, I decided to Make Do and Mend with what I have one hand.

 

Here is how I made it! I took this old kitchen mat, it’s standard carpet top with non-slip rubber back.  Pretty sure it came from Target.

I grabbed some indoor/outdoor stiff heavyweight canvas fabric I had on hand, I cut the fabric 1.25in larger on all sides of the rug.  Then wrapped the fabric around to the back side.  (Use wonder clips to hold it in place.)

Then I mitered each of the corners.  

Then I stitched it down all the way around about 3/4in from the edge.   I used a jeans needle and my walking foot and just took it slow.

Here is my new kitchen rug!  Exactly what I was looking for!

It’s all mine… 

I might have a decent size stash of various fabrics, annnnd I might have more than one great sewing machine.  What I certainly didn’t have was a quilt that was all mine! One that I made for just me!  Until now! On our recent vacation, I put the finishing touches on my City Tiles Quilt!  I was excited to test the pattern for Emily.  (I just love her modern style, Go Check her out!) I sometimes dream of quilting for hours each day.  That is NOT the season of life for me right now.  When 1st-grade spelling or navigating how to explain a noun of direct address to my 4th grader wake me from my daydream,  I realize I don’t want that dream.  I cherish spending most of my days memorizing irregular verbs and Latin noun declensions with my kids. While the subjects do provide a level of interest for me, it’s more about the time spent with my not so little kids watching them learn and grow.  Taking on larger quilt projects is always bridled by other priorities.  I look at this dreamy finish and am pleased that it was all started and finished this year. And it’s all mine.  I figure this life I have is pretty incredible! Oh, and it’s all Tula Pink… Because hello #stopstashing #startsewing!  When you see me next, I might just be carrying this thing around like like a two-year-old with a security blanket. 

We discovered a ghost town (old Mormon settlement) outside Zion.  Seriously, this wagon? Zion is full of breathtaking views, cliffs, and hillsides that have broken off in big chunks and landslides.  I spy the  Zion Arch in the background…do you? 

We hiked, we laughed, we ate ice cream, we biked, we ventured through tunnels, I fell and LITERALLY.ATE.DIRT *blech* (3 hours later I was still gritting it between my teeth), and the whole time we were in awe of God’s handiwork. 

Working Truss Bridge, WHAT? WHAT?

The quilt deets: Fabric is Tula Pink from several lines.  For the back, I pieced it from various larger cuts, yard, half yard, and fat quarter.  Even the binding is Tula.   ALL TULA, ALL THE TIME! I quilted it in a simple larger crosshatch.  I think the piecing was sophisticated enough for this finish!  Do you have a quilt that is all yours?  

Warm bread, full heart! 

One of my most cherished passages of Scripture is from Acts 2.  Jesus had just ascended back to heaven and the Apostles were following Jesus’ last command and the Church was growing.

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe[d] came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Last night, as I sat in a leader’s training, the first thing the speaker said is that “Relationships are the most important part of our lives.”  This passage kept floating around in my head and filtering down to my heart. (Side Note: I may have gotten a tad bit giddy when he spoke of mirror neurons and how relationships can transform us.)

I cherish the community we have, and the people we’ve had in our home over the years, sharing meals and our lives with. Must be hundreds, maybe thousands of meals together! When I think of all of those meals together, I get excited about heaven.  It will be one great big fantastic feast with so many we love and people from everywhere we’ve never met!   We get to practice now, building relationships, being present in people’s lives, breaking bread,  serving on another, growing together, suffering together, celebrating together.

It is always a delight and a joy to share meals with others, and as they say in Texas “Y’all come back now, ya hear?”