Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Ten Crafty Gift Ideas to Make this Christmas

Hi! Today I want to share some homemade gift ideas with you. Overall, my family does a lot of crafts, especially near Christmas. In this post I'll be listing ten different crafts you can make as gifts. I hope you get some good ideas!

1. Paint a sign! There are so many different ways you could do this. You could paint a verse on a canvas, sand a piece of wood and paint a scene, or even just paint a watercolor picture on good paper. Here's a picture of a sign my sister made a few years back. It was done on a canvas with paint and a black Sharpie marker.

2. Make soap! There are a million different recipes for soap on Pinterest! Since one batch will probably make multiple bars, this is a great way to make several people a gift at once. Wrap it up in plastic wrap with a nice bow, and you'll have a pretty, yet practical gift.

3. String Art! String art can be a ton of fun if you remember to not get too stressed out about it. It does take a while to get all the nails in, and wrapping the string is harder than it looks, but I definitely think it's worth the effort! String art could definitely be used as a Christmas gift!

4. A tray of cookies! Who doesn't like cookies? One gift we used to do is put together trays of assorted cookies. Make several different flavor cookies, and put a few of each flavor on each tray. Sprinkle on a few pieces of candy, cover with plastic wrap, and voila! A tasty gift!

5. Sew an apron! If you sew, aprons are a rather easy gift to make. A few years ago I made a simple apron, and I'll link the tutorial HERE. This will fit girls near the ages 6-10. There are also tons of other free tutorials online.

6. Put together a sunshine box! Sunshine boxes are basically a box of yellow things, made to brighten another's day. You can include snacks with yellow wrappers, yellow cards or pictures, a yellow book, or even a yellow shirt or blanket!

7. Paint a rock! Although Kindness Rocks are generally made to leave at parks and other outdoor places, you could always paint them as gifts, too. River rocks are nice to use because they are smooth, but any rock could do. Paint a picture with acrylic paints, or use a paint marker to write words, and then glaze it, and you'll have a great gift for someone to keep in their garden or on their dresser. If you know the recipient's favorite color, you could use that to personalize it to their liking.

8. A box of homemade fudge! Make a batch of fudge and put it in a little gift box with tissue paper for a delicious and elegant gift. From original chocolate or peanut butter, to mint chocolate chip or maple nut, they are hundreds of different flavor fudge options to choose from.

9. Crochet, weave, or knit a hat! If you like working with yarn, try making a hat! Not only are they fun to make, but they are great gifts for the cold winter months. Here is a picture of two hats I made recently. The one on the left was made on a round loom, pictured below. Round looms are very easy to use, and make nice, stretchy hats. The one on the right was crocheted using THIS PATTERN.

10. Make bookmarks! Bookmarks are a simple gift that you can make in bulk. There are some really nice bookmark ideas on Pinterest. You can give a bookmark alone, or pair it up with something else. Below I'm going to add some bookmark ideas I found on Pinterest that I really like.
These are made from popsicle sticks.

I like these ones a lot.

Aren't these painting beautiful?

These are made from the spines of old books.

  That's all for today! Have you ever tried any of these? Do you plan to? Do you enjoy crafts? Do you like making gifts at Christmas?

Friday, November 29, 2019

Black Friday sale is now live!!!

  Just wanted to pop in and tell you the sale on my book is now live! From today until Monday you will be able to get it at a discounted price. Don’t forget, free shipping for those with Prime!!
You can purchase it HERE!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A Christmas Gift Quiz for You!

  Hello everyone! Is it just me, or did Christmas come very quickly this year? I can't believe December is only a few days away. Anyway, I've started thinking about Christmas gifts, and I thought it's be fun to do some gift recommendations on here. Before I do though, I'd like to get your opinions. I made a quiz on Google Forms; would you all mind filling it out for me? It will help me greatly to know more about you all. The answers will be anonymous, so please don't hesitate to answer truthfully!
  Another thing. In two days is Black Friday, so I wanted to let you know that "Leaning On the Everlasting Arms" will be on sale! Instead of $8 for a paperback, it will be only $6, and instead of $3 for an Ebook, it will be only $1! If you have wanted to buy a copy but haven't got a chance, this Friday would be a perfect opportunity! You could also use this sale as a chance to get a Christmas present for someone on your list.
  One last thing I'd like to mention before posting the quiz is a Bible reading plan. The book of Luke has 24 chapters, so if you read one chapter a day starting on the first of December, you'l have read the whole book by Christmas Eve. I'm going to be trying that, and I invite you to do the same.
  Okay, here is the quiz.

  I hope you are all having a great November! Do you have any Christmas plans? Are any of you traveling in December? Have a great week!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Response to Literature: The Touch of the Master's Hand Poem

“The Touch of the Master’s Hand”
A few years ago, my violin teacher gave me a paper. Looking over it, I saw that it was a poem titled, “The Touch of the Master’s Hand.” “Interesting,” I thought to myself. For the time being, I put it out of my head, but when we got out to the car after the lesson, I eagerly began to read it. I really liked this poem, and I could tell that a definite message was being portrayed. In fact, it left me pondering it the whole drive home. What was the author trying to tell us? 
     The poem is written as an allegory with the violin representing our lives and the master representing God. Writing this way helps people to be interested in what the story says, and also makes them want to finish reading to the end. As they imagine the old man solemnly trek up to the front of the auction house and pick up the dirty, worn violin, they’ll feel transferred to another place, another time, and they’ll want to stay. Using allegory in your writing will draw in a reader’s attention.       
     As you read the poem, you will realize that the author is trying to get a point across; he has a reason for writing this story. When the violin is first lifted up, the crowd sees how dingy and dirty it is, and hardly a bid is called. This is how our lives would be without God, dirty with sin and not worth much. Even if we appear “great” and have piles of gold and a million friends, without God, our life will be meaningless. We simply can not be fulfilled without God. Afterall, He made us with an empty hole in our hearts, which only He can fill.
     It may seem like a very gloomy poem, but don’t worry, it gets better. Look closely, for now, from the back corner, old man stands up. As he walks to the front, you can tell he walks confidently, but not pridefully. As he reaches the stand, he picks up the violin and begins to play. The music is beautiful, and floats to every nook and cranny in the building. The old man smiles as he plays, for giving worth to small things is a pleasure to him. When he finally puts it down and walks back to his seat, the people begin to bid once again. One thousand, two thousand, three! Suddenly that old violin is worth so much more than it was only a few minutes before. Why? Because the master used it. When we yield our lives up as instruments for the Master to use to His purpose, we will finally have meaningful lives. 
     So why did the author write this poem? To show us that when we try to live our lives on our own, we will fail. We can’t get anywhere without God. On the other hand, when we let God control our lives, He can use us for things beyond our wildest imagination. The writer of this poem uses an old man and a worn violin to teach us a very important lesson. Just like David killed the huge Goliath, and Gideon’s army had victory over the vast Midianite army, we too can be used for great things. A violin can’t play without a Master.

  Here's a link to the poem! The Touch of the Master's Hand

Have you ever heard this poem? Do you like it? 

Saturday, November 9, 2019

New, New, New!

  This has been a year full of new things. Towards the end of last year we started going to a new church, and making new friends. My sister and I both started learning how to drive this year, and also have began going to youth things at our new church. My mom, sisters, and I went to a ladies retreat in March. We went to two church camp outs, one for youth and one for families. My first book was published. So many new things have happened!!!
  In September, we moved, so that was new too! Not only are we adjusting to a new house, but also adjusting to many aspects of a new road and neighbors and everything.
  A month and a half after moving, our dear old Suburban’s transmission went out. We traded her in for the large price of.........................................................................................................................
............................$100. Yes, after all these years we’ve spent with her, she is now scrap metal. My baby brother was born in the Suburban so its definitely filled with memories! Anyhow, I figured I’d show y’all some pictures of our new house and new van. 

It's a silver twelve passenger van.

Here's a picture of the outside of our new house. It's old, built in the late 1880's. and is next to a little diner. 
There are lots of neat locks on the door.

Our friends gave us a big table.

We are hoping to get a sofa in here.

Aren't old-fashioned doorknobs neat looking?

Here's the school room.

Here is my sister's bedroom.

Can you tell she likes books?
Here's my room.

Here's my other sisters' room.

My other brother and sister's room.
This is a wood stove in the basement we use to help heat the house.

This is the family room upstairs.

Here's the guest room!

Well, that's all for today! Did you enjoy the tour? Have you ever moved? What's been new in your life lately?

Monday, November 4, 2019

Meet the Andersons / Life Lately

  Hi again! Today I figured I'd fill you in on the last week and a half or so, and also introduce you to the Andersons. The Anderson family is who Meg Sonnenfeld, the main character in Leaning On the Everlasting Arms, goes to live with.
  The day after my book was released, our laptop crashed. We lost a lot of things, and our files are currently unable to open because we no longer have Word. Hopefully we'll be able to somehow copy and paste them using a free trial. I'm very thankful that it happened after my book was published, not before.

  Yesterday, my sister came to visit. She lives out-of-state and we haven't seen her in ten-or-so months. It was a really nice visit.

  Today is my parents' anniversary so they went out to dinner; we are staying home and watching Annie. Have you ever watched that movie? It's a classic in our family, and since my little sister looks just like Annie, we figured it's time to watch again.

  Okay, well let's get to some introductions, shall we?
  To begin, we'll start with Lester, the father. He is quiet at first glance, but is really friendly and nice once he gets to know you. He is a really good father and is serious yet playful.

   Janet, the mother, is a plump, friendly, and outgoing lady. She has red hair, and red cheeks too. She laughs a lot and is always making sure needs are met.
  Rachel, the oldest of the children, is eighteen. She has long brown hair, and is good with children, which is helpful being that she has seven younger siblings. She is quiet, yet tries to make people feel welcome. She likes sewing, cross-stitch and cooking.

  Henry is next at sixteen. He has dirty blonde hair and is rather quiet too. He helps Lester with the farming and enjoys solitary activities like working with wood or animals.

  Lissie, who's real name is Elizabeth, is fourteen. She has long black hair, and is very quiet. She has been bitter ever since she was twelve and something tragic had happened. While the rest of her family mourned and moved on, she has remained angry.
Picture from Pinterest

  Becky, or Rebekah, is eleven. She has light brown hair and a lot of freckles. She's outgoing and friendly, yet she doesn't talk excessively. She has a way of making friends with anyone, no matter their age. It is her goal to make everyone feel welcome and loved.
Here is a picture I found on Pinterest; it looks exactly like her! (I don't own this picture.)

  Charles, or Charlie, and Clarabelle, or Clara, are twins. They are six years old and both have light blonde hair and blue eyes. They are a little shy but very playful with those they trust. They get excited easily and have huge imaginations.
Here's another picture from Pinterest; this one's Clara.

  Benjamin, or Benny, is four. He has tan hair and is a happy and excited little boy. He loves when Lester takes him outside to work on the farm, and he has a never-ending supply of energy. He has a million questions which can tire his family but they all love him.

  Rosy, or Rosanna, is two. She has a head full of bright orange curls. She opens up to people very easily and is full of smiles and giggles. She follow Janet around the house and watches intently, learning much each day. She doesn't talk fully yet but is learning quickly.

Hannah is Meg's sister, not one of the Andersons, but since I found a picture that looks like her, I figured I'd share it. Again, the picture is not mine.

Well, that's all for now! Did you enjoy getting to meet the Anderson family? Which one are you most like? 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Leaning On the Everlasting Arms is now FOR SALE!!!

  I'm so excited to announce that Leaning On the Everlasting Arms is now for sale! I know I had said that the release date wasn't going to be until November 12, but it has been published early! It's now available as a paperback for $7.99, and as an ebook for $2.99. I'm also going to be ordering a bunch of copies, so if you see me in person, you can save on shipping. :D
  Please check it out using the link below, and feel free to share with your friends!
  Thank you everyone for all of your support during this whole process! Whether by sharing the cover, or just giving encouraging words, you all have been so helpful during this process!