Saturday, May 30, 2015

Soap Crafting

Soap Crafting: Step-by-Step Techniques for Making 31 Unique Cold-Process SoapsSoap Crafting: Step-by-Step Techniques for Making 31 Unique Cold-Process Soaps by Anne-Marie Faiola
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very thorough book on cold process soap making. Explanation and soap recipes were very well setup so that they were easy to understand. Photos were clear and visually appealing. Will be making 29 of the 31 recipes in this book (they're that.good.) and will be using this as a guide for numerous soap projects.

Summary: The Soap Queen, Anne-Marie Faiola, shows you how to make perfect cold-process soap that is better than what you can buy at the store! Simple instructions and great photography walk you through every step of 31 exciting recipes, making it easy to master the techniques you need and produce the soaps you want. You'll find chapters on colors (neon, oxides, mica), molds (milk jugs, yogurt containers, pipes), food (pumpkin, coffee, beer, avocado, oatmeal), and building (embedding soap in soap, funnel pour, swirling). Faiola offers everything you need to make your own soap, safely and enjoyably.

Recommended Reading:
Natural Soaps by Melinda Coss
The Everything Soapmaking Book by Alicia Grosso
Natural Soap Making by Elizabeth Letcavage
The Natural and Handmade Soap Book by Sarah Harper

Friday, May 29, 2015

Faith Seeds

Faith SeedsFaith Seeds by Jaye Seay
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was a quick devotional. Two stars for keeping the devo brief, zero stars for having a message that sticks. I think more could have been done and still kept it to the point. A free eBook, at least.

Summary: Faith Seeds: Volume One contains ten short devotional messages that were designed to ignite your faith. This ebook will help you as you grow in the Word of God. Each message takes only a few seconds to read but will leave you with powerful truths to consider. This ebook will lead you to delve into the living Word and spend some quality time with God.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Waking Kate

Waking KateWaking Kate by Sarah Addison Allen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a short story intro for the book Lost Lake. Well written, strong character introductions, and a great pull-in to the book.

Summary: From New York Times bestselling author Sarah Addison Allen comes Waking Kate, a haunting and luminous short story about a young woman who soon will face an unforeseen change in her life. One sticky summer day as Kate is waiting for her husband to come home from his bicycle shop, she spots her distinguished neighbor returning from his last day of work after six decades at Atlanta's oldest men's clothing store. Over a cup of butter coffee, he tells Kate a story of love and heartbreak that makes her remember her past, question her present, and wonder what the future will bring. A magical story on its own, Waking Kate is also a short fiction tie-in to Allen's 2014 bestseller Lost Lake.

Recommended Reading:
Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen
The Scent of Lilacs by Ann H. Gabhart
Hearts Awakening by Delia Parr
Treasures of the North by Tracie Peterson
A Beautiful Heist by Kim Foster

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Redefining the Role of the Youth Worker

Redefining the Role of the Youth Worker: A Manifesto of IntegrationRedefining the Role of the Youth Worker: A Manifesto of Integration by April Diaz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was given to me by my pastor - an autographed copy, no less! A different outlook on the position of working with youth in the church, a fresh perspective and a much needed guide. Will be referring back to this often as a motivational well.

Summary: This is not a book about youth ministry. Well, it’s not entirely about youth ministry. This is a book about the church and her relationship with teenagers. And it’s a book about leadership. These pages offer an invitation for anyone who loves teenagers. This is a story, a calling, a vision for the church to be more whole, more cohesive, and longer lasting than the six or seven years that make up most youth ministries. In part, this book is a case study about one church who became captivated by a bigger vision for their teenagers and decided things needed to be different. Quite different. And it’s a stake in the ground that things must be different in our churches and cities for the sake of this generation and the ones to come.

Birthed in the cauldron of frustration and possibility, youth worker and author April Diaz took a big risk when a staff position opened in youth ministry at her church. She led her church by asking some tough questions:
What if we changed this position from a Youth Pastor to Student Integration Pastor?
And what if this was more than a job title, but a change in the way our church views its relationship with teenagers?
What if we don’t just hire a youth ministry Pied Piper to isolate our teenagers, but hire a youth ministry champion who won’t let the congregation forget about her responsibility for the spiritual formation of the teenagers in our midst?

Equal parts intervention, idealism, memoir and guide, this tiny book packs a punch you’ll be thinking about and wrestling with well beyond the final page.  

Friday, May 22, 2015

Candy Bouquets

So here's the deal: I went to India for 10 days. While I was gone I missed two birthday parties, Mother's Day, three high school graduations, and a baby shower. It's probably better that I wasn't here because I don't know how I would have been in all those places at once.

I needed something quick, cute, and original for gifts. Well, my candy bouquets wound up being semi-original. I combined two ideas I saw on Pinterest and made it work for me. These go together pretty quick, are ridiculously addictive to make, and I think they're super cute!

One foam block, and two sizes of craft sticks.

Glue large candy bars and box candies to each side of the block.

Use a green marker to color the craft sticks. (Best.Assistant.Ever.)

Use stencils to trace flower and leaf shapes onto cardstock.

I used the flower and heart shapes on this stencil.

After cutting out leaves, don't forget to add veins!

Glue the leaves to the sticks in varying directions.

Glue candies on to flower cardstock.
Glue craft sticks onto flowers at varying heights.

Insert longest flower into the back of the block.

Insert the medium length next.

And finally the shortest flower in front.

Here's what you need to make your own!
Serrated knife (for trimming the foam block)
Low temp glue gun and lots of sticks
Green marker

Rectangle foam block 2.4 x 2.9 x 7.8 inches
2 Large craft sticks
1 Small craft stick
colored card stock (I used green and cream colored)
2 box candies
2 large chocolate bars
21 candy pieces

Foam block:
Using a serrated knife, I trimmed my foam block to be slightly shorter than my shortest base candy. In my case it was the chocolate bars. Then I glued the chocolate bars on to the longer side of the rectangle. I had glued one accidentally on the short side and discovered that the candy boxes won't fit against the base when done that way. After both bars were glued on, I glued on the candy boxes. I found it was easiest to apply the glue to the block, set the block up to standing, and align the bar or box before actually pressing it into the glue. Once it's in the glue, there's only a second of wiggle room.

Use a green marker to color the craft sticks. You could paint them, but the marker was just as quick and didn't require drying time. Use a stencil to trace and cut out the flower and leaf shapes. I used Fiskars ShapeXpress templates with a flower shape and a curvy heart shape that worked perfect for leaves. You could use just a circle for the flower and hand cut a leaf - I had neither the patience or scissors skills to freehand it! Glue the candy pieces onto the flower, glue the flower and leaves to the craft stick. I did mine at varying heights in the bouquet.
Stick the assembled flowers into the foam block - I angled them slightly so that they had more of a "natural" look to them. If you wanted to you could take some irish moss and use to cover the top surface of the foam block and give it more of a finished look. I didn't due to lack of time and material.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Into the Wilderness

Into the Wilderness (Wilderness, #1)Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I started this book with the understanding that it would be similar to DG's Outlander series. I did not realize it was fanfiction (of Outlander and The Last of the Mohicans) until a bit into the book. Outlander characters make appearances in name only - otherwise all comparisons can stop there. This book doesn't have the skill of DG's short-story-within-a-bigger-story, but it is a skillfully told single story with strong characters.

I enjoyed the straightforwardness of (most) of the writing. Occasionally the author wrote descriptions that while charming, fell short of the way that DG writes, missing the visual mark, and making odd word pairings that pulled me out of the story. Enjoyed the author's inclination for less poetic structure and ability to move the story quickly.

Summary: It is December of 1792. Elizabeth Middleton leaves her comfortable English estate to join her family in a remote New York mountain village. It is a place unlike any she has ever experienced. And she meets a man unlike any she has ever encountered - a white man dressed like a Native American, Nathanial Booner, known to the Mohawk people as Between-Two-Lives. Determined to provide schooling for all the children of the village, she soon finds herself locked in conflict with the local slave owners as well as her own family.

Recommended Reading:
The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon
Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade by Diana Gabaldon
A Silent Ocean Away by DeVa Gantt
The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett