Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Truth about Dating, Love, and Just Being Friends, by Chad Eastham (and a giveaway!)

I recently read Chad Eastham's new book, The Truth About Dating, Love, and Just Being Friends (and how not to be miserable as a teenager because life is short, and seriously, things don't magically get better after high school and lots of other important stuff, but we'll get to that later). What a long title, huh? :)

This book is geared towards teenagers and is full of relationship advice for them. It takes a look at teen dating (starting off with some statistics about our generation and actually defining "dating"), discussing the good things that can come about from dating and also the negative results from making bad decisions. It makes it clear that dating in itself isn't a bad thing, but that it's the decisions the people in a relationship make that can turn it sour.

Chad Eastham also discusses the whole concept of "just being friends," and how that could actually be a good thing. He talks about our emotions and the differences between miserable teenagers and happy teenagers. This book humorously answers all of the questions teens have about relationships, while encouraging them to make smart decisions.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I had never read any of Chad Eastham's other books, but I have seen him speak several times at the Revolve Tour and always enjoyed his talks. This book is, of course, written from a Christian moral standpoint, but it's not preachy.

I read a lot of books like this when I was 14 or 15, because even though I wasn't dating anyone, I wanted to know everything I could about guys. :) I would have loved this book when I was that age. I feel like this book would be best for younger teenagers, or for ages 14-17 or so. And even though it's perfectly appropriate for girls and guys (some parts are even directed just to guys), I honestly can't imagine a guy picking this book off of the shelf. The cover just looks a little girly, but I wish that wouldn't keep guys from reading it!

As usual, Chad Eastham is a funny guy. His writing style is really casual and relaxed, a lot like listening to him speak at conferences. He writes directly to teenagers and is in touch with what's going on in their lives. He talks about how texting is hurting our communication (I agree with that!). And he dedicates a whole chapter to the whole Twilight-based phenomenon, with hilarious looks at what a relationship with vampires, werewolves, etc. would really be like. :)

I know that a lot of you who read my blog probably don't agree with the whole teenage dating scene. Honestly, I don't think it's such a great idea, either. But not everyone feels that way, and a lot of Christian teenagers are dating. So if they're going to, I think it's great that there are books like this out there to help them make godly decisions. Chad Eastham makes it clear in the last chapter that there's no set plan that works for everybody and that you don't have to agree with everything he says.

*Note: I received this book free from Booksneeze for review. I'm not required to give a positive review, but to give my honest opinion of the book.*

Now for the giveaway!

I'm giving away this copy of "The Truth About Dating, Love, and Just Being Friends," as well as Chad Eastham's DVD "The Truth About Guys." So one reader will get to read Chad's new book and actually see one of his Revolve Tour talks from a few years ago. :)

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment! Only one entry per person, please. This giveaway is open to readers in the US and Canada. You have from now until next Friday (February 4th).

*Note: the cover of the book is slightly bent and has a tiny tear near the spine. It was like that when it arrived, so I guess the postal service was a little rough with it! The DVD has only been watched once or twice and is like brand new.*

Until next time,

Friday, January 28, 2011

Book love and stitches.

Hi, guys. I know it's been a while since I posted. I've been doing a lot of sewing and reading (and wishing for snow so that classes would be canceled :) this week. I got some books through the mail that I had ordered, which was very nice. One of them is Jenny B. Jones' new book "Save the Date," which I'm so excited about! Another was this:

I am fascinated with bookbinding. And this book is the coolest thing ever! First of all, "Rebound" is a gorgeous book in itself. It's technically a paperback, but the covers are really heavy and sturdy. As my brother said sarcastically, making fun of me while I was marveling over it, "Oh my gosh! It's like a hard paperback!" The binding is not pitiful like most paperback craft books. It's really nice. The pages are cardstock-ish, and the book has the most delicious new book smell. :) Then there's the fact that it has basic book-binding info in the front, followed by *sixteen* books to make, ending with a gallery of some books made by paper artists. The books and bindings in "Rebound" are amazing...they take things like gift cards, bathroom rugs, and potato chip bags to make books. I have been gushing over it since Wednesday, and I'm trying to gather the supplies to make two or three of the books already. I also have another bookbinding book (which I ordered at the same time as this one, but it took longer to ship) on the way, so things around the blog may take a definite bookish turn for a while. :)

This afternoon, I finally framed this cuckoo clock embroidery that I finished weeks ago (from Aimee Ray's "Motif Collection"). I wrapped brown grosgrain ribbon around the hoop, and I love it! It looks so cute hanging on my wall.

I also finished this past week's motifs for the Doodle Stitching Stitch Along. You can find them for free here.

So...that's all for now. But I'll be back tomorrow with my first Booksneeze book review and a book/DVD giveaway! This little giveaway would be perfect for any young teen girl in your life, so be sure to stop by and check it out. :)

Until next time,

Friday, January 21, 2011

Swing dress fabric. was the trip to Joann's. After searching through every aisle in the store, and reading the information on every bolt of fabric in the red tag clearance section, this is what I chose for my swing dress:

It's rayon challis. It was on clearance for $5 a yard, and all of the red tag was an additional 50% off. So I got 3 1/2 yards of this for just over $10. :) I was having a hard time finding fabric that was the type the pattern called for (I'm usually shopping for printed cotton. I know next to nothing about apparel fabrics), and then I saw this. At first, I didn't like it. Plus, it's dry clean only. But I didn't have much choice, so I bought it. And it keeps growing on me. :) Every time I look at it, I like it better. I think it'll look cute on a 40s style dress.

The pattern calls for an (optional) brooch for the front of the dress. I don't have a brooch that matches the fabric and didn't really want to buy one. So I found these adorable buttons instead and bought them using my coupons. :) I'm not sure which ones I'm going to use yet, but I'm leaning towards the black ones. We'll have to see.

When we got home, I was feel really motivated and excited about this sew along, so I printed off my e-pattern and started piecing it together. Ha.

I was going to take pictures of the process to post here, but I was so frustrated and stressed that I completely forgot. The process took two hours (about 25 minutes of this time was scolding the cats and staring blankly at the pattern pieces). Go ahead and laugh. I had Pandora (my France-inspired "La Vie En Rose" station...I just discovered Pandora this week!) going, and our two cats were crouching and pouncing and hissing and running everywhere. When I *finally* got the first pattern sheet together, I put it in the floor, where my brother's cat kept running and sliding across it. What is it with cats and paper on the floor?

I started by holding the pieces up to the window and matching the lines up that way. Then it started getting dark, the piece was getting too big to handle, and my arms were about to fall off. So then I moved to the floor. Then the kitchen table.

I freaked out at one point because things weren't matching up perfectly. This is what I was thinking then: "You're such a doofus! Next time just cough up the extra money to get the real pattern sent to you!" I almost went upstairs and printed off the 20 pages again, which would have been incredibly stupid. Thankfully, I didn't. Instead, I watched the e-pattern videos here. They were a huge help...mostly because she reminded me that I'm not perfect and the lines don't have to match up just right! I'm such a perfectionist, and most of the time that's not a good thing. And she also mentioned starting from the center and working your way outward. I did that with the second sheet. I wish I had watched the videos before I started this whole process.

Anyway. My two big sheets of paper are all taped together. I was planning on just cutting it out, but after all this effort, there's no way I'm cutting into that "master pattern"! I meant to buy some cheap plain interfacing today, but I forgot. So I'm not sure what I'll do yet. But I'm definitely going to trace the pattern again before I cut it.

I also bought two black zippers for the dress (not sure whether I'm going to do the invisible zipper or regular one yet) and some very sheer fusible knit interfacing for the midriff, like Casey recommended. The interfacing was 50% off, so I got a couple yards of Craftfuse, too. It ended up being about 75 cents a yard. I use it all the time and normally pay $2 a yard at Hobby Lobby. And I bought this cute black/grey/white silky fabric for a skirt. I originally was going to get this for the swing dress, but there was only just over a yard left. So it'll be a skirt eventually. (This was also red tag 50% off-just a couple of dollars worth.)

Finally...yesterday, I made a new wallet and iPod/cell phone cozy. They're both now listed in my Etsy shop!

I'm usually not big on pink, but I really love damask fabric. It's so elegant looking.

Until next time,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sweet dress.

How adorable is this dress?

I love the bodice especially. The neckline and sleeves- they remind me of something Penelope would wear. :)

It's the Ceylon dress from Colette Patterns. It's $18...I would have never even considered paying that much for a pattern up until a few weeks ago. :) It would still be painful for me-I'm spoiled to 99 cents Simplicity sales. I think I'll wait until my clothes sewing abilities improve before I invest in this pattern, though.

Maybe after the swing dress sew along? I'm a little nervous about that. I've never made a dress that fit me properly. Then again, I've never made the extra effort to alter a pattern or make a muslin mock-up either. This time I will, though. :) I'm going to Joann's tomorrow to shop for fabric for the dress. (I love Hobby Lobby, but their apparel fabrics are sadly lacking.)

Until next time,

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dreaming of Paris.

I love my Eiffel Tower embroidery...I finally framed it today. :) We were looking for ribbon in Hobby Lobby, and Mom found this really pretty pink satin ribbon with a brown, glittery fleur-de-lis motif. This is by far my favorite framed piece...I'm going to start always using ribbon on the hoop.

I'm very reluctantly selling it. You can find it in my Etsy shop here. I'm hoping to do a series of these, in different colors, on different fabrics, and with different ribbon trims.

I watched the lovely "Sabrina" again the other night, and I've been watching through the France episodes from my travel DVDs. So this song has been playing a lot. :)

I finished this Aimee Ray embroidery today. You can download the pattern for free here.

Can you tell I've been loving embroidery lately? One of my favorite things about it is that I can do it while I watch movies. :)

Until next time,

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cranford and crafts.

Today was a very lazy day for me. I watched "Cranford" (well, all of it except the first two hours, which I watched last night) and "Return to Cranford."

I loved these two mini-series! I liked "Cranford" better, but the sequel was amazing, too. Honestly, I thought they might be a little boring, as they're stories about women who live in a small English village. But they weren't boring in the least. They were hilarious! And filled with drama. :) I can *so* relate to the ladies resisting change.

I loved Miss Matty- she was my favorite character. She was so sweet and kind. Quite a change from the only other character I've ever seen Judi Dench play- Lady Catherine de Bourgh in "Pride and Prejudice." :) I also loved seeing Simon Woods play such a likable person. As Mr. Bingley in P&P, he's sort of a goober, and he's the slimy jerk Edward in "Penelope." Oh, and I think Imelda Staunton's character was probably the funniest...I just loved her!

While I watched, I did some embroidery. This little gnome and mushroom from Aimee Ray's "The Motif Collection." You can download the pattern free here. Sorry about the wrinkles! I tried to press it, but it's very stubborn.

And this Eiffel Tower, which I'm probably going to frame in a hoop and list in my Etsy shop. Though I'm tempted to keep it!

And here is the book handbag. I went by this tutorial, in case you want to give it a try. But this is not a craft for the faint of heart. It seemed simple at first, but I really struggled at the last step!

Here's what my book looked like to begin with. I browsed through Goodwill for a hardback with a pretty cover and finally found this one, "The World's Best Fairy Tales," for $2.50. Do you know how criminal I felt looking for a book to buy, knowing that I was going to go home and cut it up? I felt very suspicious and half expected the police to show up.

After I cut the pages out (I saved them, still all bound together and want to sew a cover for the book):

^That's the glue I used: Amazing Goop-Craft. Ha. Glue and I do not get along at all. This glue was good in one way, because of the fact that after you use it, you can shift the two pieces around a little if you need to. It doesn't hold instantly. But it smelled terrible. And it had to set for hours and hours before it started to hold well. And it was very messy! My tube got a hole in the middle, and halfway through the final step I found my hands completely covered in glue. I was still peeling it off two days later!

For the closure, I just hot glued a little button on the front cover, in the center, and then hot glued a piece of string to the back (before I glued the lining in). I wish I had come up with something better, but I was so desperate to finish that this was the best I could do.

The lining fabric is just brown broadcloth. It was the only fabric I had that matched. I made cloth handles instead of using premade ones, because while they're pretty, I find them uncomfortable to use. I topstitched the handles with that yellow thread that's used for topstitching in jeans, because it added a little color and matched the golden/yellow on the book cover.
I also added a little pocket to the inside.

This is the point where disaster set in. In the last step, where you glue the lining and one of the side panels to the cover all at once, I had a complete mess. My hands were covered in glue, and I couldn't get everything set in right. So the bottom of the sides of the bag look like this, all nasty and gluey:

I had to touch some spots up the next day with a hot glue gun. I was hoping the ugly glue spots would blend in overnight, but they didn't. So...this project was harder than it looks, mostly because the last part is fiddly. It doesn't look too bad from a distance. But it didn't turn out nearly as well as I hoped it would. Here it is, in comparison with my little iPod nano, to show the size:

If any of you decide to make it, I wish you luck. :) And I would love to see pictures!

Until next time,

Friday, January 14, 2011

Antiques, a cuckoo clock, and a preview.

Today was spent gallivanting around with my mom. We went shopping, which included a trip to the incredible 3 level antique store in town. We didn't buy anything...just looked. :) I made plans to purchase a huge wardrobe and a yellow dining table set when I have a house of my own.

I also decided to embrace my European obsession with a "Best of Europe" travel DVD set. And a stack of books from the library, including "My Life in France," by Julia Child, "A Walk in the Woods," by Bill Bryson, a few mysteries set in the 1920s-30s, and a children's book that I haven't read in a long time.

I checked out "Cranford" and "Return to Cranford." I've never seen either of these, so I'm pretty excited about watching them this weekend. I also thought that I was coming home with "North and South." I found it, only to realize that it was some 80s series starring Patrick Swayze, not the "North and South" I'm thinking of. Disappointment!

I bent my new year's goal and ordered some books from Amazon. I think this probably means I shouldn't buy any books next month.

I finished this little cuckoo clock from Aimee Ray's "Motif Collection" last night. I love it!

I love this little book. It has the cutest designs! And it's at an amazing price right now on Amazon.

This piece is all backstitching and satin stitching, which I'm trying to work on.

This also happens to be the neatest embroidery I've ever done. Look at the back! I tied up everything often instead of dragging my thread from one spot to another like I usually do.

And here is the project that I've been meaning to post about for days now...the one I fought with- big time. I don't have the energy to write about it now. I promise I'll post about it tomorrow! Here's a preview picture:

Until next time,

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Travel bug.

Exactly two years ago today, I was traveling the world with my family.

We took in gorgeous Moroccan architecture.
We dined at a wine cellar restaurant in Canada.
We visited quaint little English shops and gardens.
Oh, and we got a picture of the Eiffel tower while we were in France.

Okay, okay. So we were at Disney World. :) In the World Showcase in Epcot.

We also made friends with hungry ducks.

Seriously, Disney World is one of my most favorite places ever.

And since I haven't had the opportunity to traipse all over Europe yet, this was the next best thing. But it's been two years this week since we've had a vacation, and though we can't go anywhere right now, I have the travel bug.

We don't have the Travel Channel. Here are some movies I'm planning on watching to get my travel fix:

Roman Holiday
Leap Year
The Sound of Music
and some cheesy Scotland and Wales train ride video I have. :)

But I hope you all read this far, because I need some help, guys. I probably should have put this at the beginning of the post. I really want to read some new travel/Europe books. It doesn't really matter whether they're fiction or nonfiction. Books like "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" or Laura Jensen Walker's "Getaway Girls" series. Any good books that involve traveling to Europe or living in Europe.

Please give me some suggestions! I would even read something like "My Life in France," by Julia Child, at this point. I know some of you guys read these types of books. Help me out here. It's snowy and I'm inside all day.

P.S. I'm planning on getting these books that ya'll suggest from the library...not buying them. In order to stick with my resolution, I'm setting a certain amount that I'll allow myself to spend on books or movies each month.

In other news, I don't have to go back to school for a week! I only have classes on Mondays and Wednesdays. Today's class was canceled (public speaking-ha!), and there are no classes Monday. So I don't have to go back until next Wednesday! Can you tell by all of the exclamation points that I'm excited?!! :)

Now I'm off to do battle with my book handbag again. Good grief. I've just finished removing the glue off my hands from yesterday.

Until next time,