Sunday, May 31, 2009


Love a Great Deal? How About 30 Great Deals?

During the month of June, Close To My Heart is offering a different deal each day on my personal CTMH website. Each day there will be a product special available only that day and only while supplies last. New deals will be posted at 10:00 (central time) each day in June and are available for 23 hours.

Watch for popular products offered FREE with a MyAcrylix stamp set purchase and goodie boxes filled with items priced well below retail. (For this special offer, personalized stamps and the stamp-of-the-month do not count as a qualifying purchase for the FREE product.)

As an added incentive, a special shipping discount has been included for this sale - each day that you purchase a stamp set to qualify for the special free product, the shipping for those two items will be just $3. In order to keep this special low shipping price, those are the only two items that can be included in that order. The shipping rate for the goodie boxes will range from $6-$10, and the goodie box must be the only item ordered.

Visit every day to see what Close To My Heart will be offering!


The Clematis flowering vine clinging to our mailbox post is really full of blossoms this year! This must be thanks to our excessive rain earlier in the spring. :)

Dead Until Dark

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1) Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
A fun, light-hearted story about supernaturals. A girl who can read the thoughts of others is thought to be 'disabled'; vampires are somewhat accepted and thought to have a 'virus' which causes them to be allergic to garlic, silver, and sunlight; and then there is also a 'shapeshifter' who can change himself into whatever animal he last saw. Who knows what other supernatural beings will be introduced in later books.

This is the first of a series, and after having the series recommended to me by several friends, I finally got a chance to read the first book. It is a short, quick read - I finished in less than a day because it was so entertaining. :)

View all my reviews.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Upside-Down Hanging Tomato Plant

Finally decided to try out one of those new funky upside-down planters, hoping that I'll be able to grow some great tomatoes right on the deck outside the kitchen. According to the package, the composition of the container helps trap heat and acts as a greenhouse to encourage good root growth.

The tomato plant is not very big yet - if you look closely, you can see it hanging out the bottom of the planter. Unfortunately, I didn't buy enough soil to fill the container - it is only about two-thirds full. But, it is very heavy! And of course, adding water just makes it heavier. We have it hanging from the cross beam using a strong bungee cord. Just hope it lasts through the summer. Aaron helped me assemble and hang the planter. It is definitely a two-person job because of the awkardness of having the plant hanging out of the bottom, and because of the weight.

Also, I placed some marigolds nearby. Marigolds have a strange, musky scent and the smell deters some insects - so it is a great companion plant for tomatoes. Hopefully this organic method of pest control will keep some of the bugs away.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

American Wife: A Novel

American Wife: A Novel American Wife: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Really enjoyed this story of Alice, a normal girl from the midwest who finds herself as First Lady. She is an only child of a small-town banker, and she is raised by her parents and her paternal grandmother. While in high school she is involved in a tragic automobile accident, and this event has profound effects on her entire life.

After completing college, she works as an elementary school teacher and then a school librarian. Her love of reading is a constant through her life. She is over 30 years old before meeting the man who she falls completely in love with. He is from a very wealthy family, so their life experiences are very different. After an unsuccessful run for the state congress, her husband works in the family business for several years before deciding to run for Governor and then President. Even though this book is about a First Lady, there is very little talk of politics and campaigning. The story is about Alice and her life.

The Author Notes at the back of the book indicate that the author was intrigued by the life of Laura Bush and other first ladies, and chose to write a story which shows that they have lives separate from their presidential husbands.

View all my reviews.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Display Album (Let's Get Together)

Just thought I'd share a project from last summer. It is a Display Album from Close To My Heart (CTMH) that holds 6"x6" pages. The Delight in Everything stamp set was used along with papers from the Let's Get Together kit, as well as some sparkles, brads, and ribbon for embellishment. This was fun to make and I was really happy with the way it turned out.


The first 10 pages are created using a template from the Reflections program. Following the template, you cut two different patterned papers into specific sizes and then arrange the pieces on 6x6 cardstock to form your pages. This is a quick and easy way to create 10 pages that coordinate with each other.

The green paper on the next page is not adhered at the top, so a pocket is formed and you can put loose items (ticket stubs, etc) into the pocket.

Since there are 12 pages in the Display Album, but only 10 pages using the Reflections template, the last two pages are simple designs created by me.

The Display Album makes a great gift - it comes pre-assembled, all you do is create pages to slip into the plastic protectors and decorate the cover.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Handle With Care

Handle with Care Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Typical for Jodi Picoult - a medical/moral dilemma with no clear right or wrong answer. This story focuses on the life of a young girl who was born with OI - a disease which means the patient lacks enough collagen and their bones break extremely easily. Normally, the first broken bones occur in vitro and then bones can possibly break just by sneezing or turning too quickly.

This story focuses on Willow and her family. Her mother decides to sue her OB for "wrongful birth" meaning that if she had known the condition early enough during pregnancy, then a decision could have been made regarding termination. However, the father does not agree with this decision - and the OB just happens to be the mother's best friend. The frequent surgeries and required medical equipment place a tremendous financial strain on the family, and Willow's mother sees a medical malpractice settlement as a way to ensure there will be enough money to treat Willow and ensure as comfortable a life as possible for someone with OI.

The chapters of the book are told from the point of view of different characters, so you gain an understanding and insight into the different emotions of Willow as well as her mother, father, sister, doctor, and lawyer.

View all my reviews.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mistress of the Art of Death

Since I seldom watch TV, I read a lot of books. I love to read, and have been using the Goodreads site to keep track of books that I've read, and recommendations from friends of books that I would like to read. And I just found out that I can link my book reviews from the Goodreads site to my blog. :)

Mistress of the Art of Death (Thorndike Press Large Print Christian Historical Fiction) Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
An okay story, but I just never found myself really identifying with or caring for any of the characters. I think this is the beginning of a series, but I will not continue reading the series.

The story is set in the 1100's England where there have been some mysterious deaths of children. For some reason, the King of Sicily sends a small group to England to determine the cause of death of the children and who is responsible. Going against all accepted practices of the time, there is a female doctor - and her specialty is to determine cause of death; i.e. a modern day Medical Examiner.

Since it took me an entire week to read the book, that is a sign that I just wasn't excited about reading it. lol

View all my reviews.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Alaska - Life Delights pages

In honor of National Scrapbooking Day, thought I would share a 9x9 accordion album that I made of our trip to Alaska in June 2007. It was a fabulous cruise aboard the Serenade of the Seas sailing from Vancouver. The scrapbook was made using the Life Delights Memory Showcase kit from Close To My Heart.

Our first port stop was Icy Strait Point at Hoonah, Alaska. It was a very peaceful and beautiful stop, with a fabulous nature trail. Look how tall those trees are!

In Juneau, we took a helicopter ride over the Ice Field and landed at two different spots. This is our family standing next to the helicopter in front of the 'Hole in the Wall' glacier ice fall.

The second helicopter stop was on a cliff high above Mendenhall Glacier.

While in Hoonah, we rode the world's longest zipline - that was quite a ride!

There was a rock-climbing wall ON the ship.

And this beautiful view was in Skagway, Alaska.