Friday, October 29, 2010

The Christmas Knot by William G. Bentrim link for The Christmas Knot

The Christmas Knot is a lovely story of family, values, and love. Hardy is a young boy with his puppy, Tiny. It is getting close to Christmas and time for dad to put up the outside lights. When things don’t go as planned, Hardy and his cousin Mardi learn several important lessons.

Character building is always a key ingredient in William G. Bentrim’s books and is very evident in The Christmas Knot. Hardy learns that things don’t always go as planned. He also learns that admitting a mistake is the right thing to do, and that sometimes mistakes turn out for the best. The church’s nativity scene becomes a focus in the story which completes this beautiful Christmas story.

Tiny once again stole my heart and I think it is hilarious that The Christmas Knot is a Tiny “pre-quel”!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wake Up! You're Probably Never Going to Look Like That: How to be Happier, Healthier and Imperfectly Fit by Michelle Pearl link for Wake Up
Wake Up starts with information on scientific studies, dieting, but its main focus is how to manage unrelenting hunger and dealing with a lower metabolism. The author discusses her back and forth struggle with weight that went along with many personal problems. It is a realistic look at weight loss, with an emphasis on being as healthy as possible without setting unrealistic goals.

My favorite quote from the book is: “The last time I had a craving for a celery stick? That would be never.”

There is a nice section with a list of foods we frequently reach for and alternative choices. There is a section on keeping active with whatever exercise is manageable. There is information on food and our children, fast food and a 12 week change program. There is a unique section with fractured fairytales to debunk diet myths.

The book ends with interviews from real average people describing their own successful weight loss plans. There is no magic book that will give us all of the answers, but Wake Up gives good advice with hints and tips to create your own safety net meals.

The Art of Comforting What to Say and Do for People in Distress by Val Walker link for The Art of Comforting
Compassion and comfort – these are difficult to find these days. We hope to find them in ourselves, our friends, churches, and medical professionals, but quite often there is little information or training for those entrusted with this responsibility.

The Art of Comforting is an interesting and informative book that gives instruction on what to say, and also how to say it. Not just a few suggestions, but several pages of comparing platitudes with more helpful comments and even the body language that portrays comfort.

A large portion of the book introduces us to several individuals involved in professions in which they have developed skills in comforting and encouragement. There are suggestions from a Victim’s Advocate, a Nurse Practitioner, a Patient education Specialist and a Minister, each with their unique skills and perspectives. There was a wonderful section on the comfort and love that animals bring into our lives.

There were a couple of things I didn’t like in the book. The section on Art as a Source of Comfort was not something I found interesting. There are some odd political comments complaining about cuts in government social services (thanks, but I would rather not get my comfort or compassion from the government!), and there was a much-too-long list of the author’s list of life’s comforts.

All in all, this is a nice book with good information for those who want a more compassionate personality.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

2011 Quilt Calendar from That Patchwork Place link for 2011 Quilt Calendar
This review is a little different because I am reviewing the 2011 Quilt Calendar from That Patchwork Place. The calendar is not only beautiful, but functional. Each half of the fold-up calendar is one-foot square, and each day has a large enough area to write in multiple appointments. Major holidays are listed.

The quilts presented are beautiful, mostly traditional, some with a modern flair. There is a pull-out instruction book in the back of the calendar that has complete patterns and detailed instructions for each of the showcased quilts.

There is a nice selection of patterns, and although not rated in the calendar, I will give my opinion of the different skill levels. April’s “S-C-H-Double–Oh-L” is an Irish Chain type quilt that is easy enough for a beginner, as is August’s pieced “The Square Within”.

For a beginner that has some quilting experience, January’s “Old Fashioned Hospitality” has a combination of piecing and pineapple appliqué. May has “Perkiomen Valley in the 1930s” with some chain piecing blocks. June’s “Square Deal” is easy squares, but with some unique piecing, and October has “Tulip Time” with both easy piecing and simple appliqués.

For the intermediate quilter March has “Twice as Nice” and July has “Spin City”, both variations of the pinwheel pieced pattern. November’s “Flying Shuttles” and December’s “Pomegranate Christmas” are a combination of pieced and appliqué quilts.

For the very skilled quilters I recommend February’s appliquéd “Peachy Keen” and September’s paper foundation “Pinwheel Stars”.

All of them are great quilts and a beautiful calendar to look at all year.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sew the Perfect Bag 25 Great Projects from Sew News link for Sew the Perfect Bag
Big, small, pretty or just functional, I love my purses, totes, and bags for fun and for work.

Sew the Perfect Bag contains large color photographs of each project and most of the diagrams are in color too. You don’t have to be an expert at sewing and you don’t need to be fussy-perfect with the project to make something beautiful and useful. Each easy-to-follow pattern is broken down with written instructions and diagrams for each step of the project, including the placement of fabrics.

The 25 patterns include a market bag, computer bag, a baby bag with a changing pad, tote bags, a lunch bag, a book bag, mesh beach bag, a couple of clutches, a wine bag and other multi-purpose bags. There are a couple of patterns that I think would be perfect for a Kindle, nook, or other e-reader. There is even a section that shows how to take an old sweater and refashion it into a beautiful tote.

The patterns are not rated for difficulty, but I would rate them as easy to advanced beginner. This is a great book with pretty, fun, and useful projects.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Just a Note

My reviews have been taking longer for me to finish lately.  I am reading several books right now for review, and I am reading The Woods by Harlan Coben for a book discussion on  Upcoming reviews include a thriller, a weight-loss book, two Christian  fiction, one Christian non-fiction and a 2011 quilt calendar (I can't wait to show you this one).  I will start posting some this coming week.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Captured by Grace by Dr. David Jeremiah

Captured by Grace (Trade Paper)
Link to for Captured by Grace
Dr. Jeremiah uses the story of John Newton and the writing of the hymn Amazing Grace to illustrate God’s grace to us in our daily lives.

The book is divided into three parts: Grace for the Past, Grace for the Present, and Grace for the Future. There are wonderful reminders of God’s grace for us and a few highlights in this book. The author comments on our day of judgment and our test of accountability. It is a wonderful reminder that the test will not be how many Bibles we own or verses we memorize, but how we apply those verses to our lives that will be of value. The author presents quotes from many sources and one that stood out to me was from John Stott, “We do not fall in and out of grace….No, we stand in it, for that is the nature of grace. Nothing can separate us from God’s love.”

While Captured by Grace has a good message, it is not an easy book to read. It is rather dry, and the topics don’t seem to flow well together. There were some stories in the book that I did not think were explained well. One is a story of a preacher who threw Bibles at listeners in the congregation. I read that portion several times, but it was puzzling to me, and I was confused as to the value in telling of the incident.

Captured by Grace is a wonderful reminder of God’s Grace and what that should mean to us in our daily lives.
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