Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Easy Levi Throw Pillow

This month I'd like to share one of my more simple/easy creations. It is a Levi throw pillow.

I use mine on my bed. It blends nicely with my colors of yellow and navy blue and adds a bit of character  to my pillow line-up.

To make the pillow takes a pair of old jeans and some polyester stuffing. Jeans with holes in the knees work great because you cut the pillow off before it gets to the knees. In fact, cut the jeans off and the knees first. Then cut down from the waistband just to the right of the zipper as straight as you can all the way down to the knee. Fold the fabric in two and cut to form a perfect (as possible) rectangle, cutting out the back seam of the jeans in similar fashion. The sew the new side seam and bottom seam. You may have to take a tuck or ease the fabric in places to make it fit the other side. Stuff, and then top stitch the top seam closed, maintaining the look of the waistband.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Trapped in East Germany

The creation I want to highlight for this post is my newest book, Trapped in East Germany. I enjoyed interviewing and getting to know Karin Adam, the person who's story I brought to life in this historical fiction novel that is based on a true story. Sadly, Karin passed away last fall before she was able to see the book in print.

Here is a blurb about the book:

It is the autumn of 1943, and Karin Graeber is keenly aware of the uneasy tide of change swirling around her. She is not alone—in wartime Berlin, it seems that everyone has been swept up in the frightening transformation of their city. No more than a child, Karin is far too young to understand the Nazi presence or the drone of air-raid sirens or the absence of her beloved Pappa, a soldier in the German army. But when a bomb destroys their home, Karin is forced to grow up far too soon as her family joins the tens of thousands displaced in the raids on the city. Relying on their faith as Latter-day Saints, Karin and her family begin a journey that will prove the indomitable strength of the human spirit.

What follows is the sweeping narrative of one young girl's journey through war and beyond—from her childlike observations of World War II in Germany to her changing view of the world as she grows up in a land divided by war. Now, driven by starvation and the perilous existence of refugees, Karin and her family must draw upon a deep reservoir of strength and faith to sustain them through the harrowing escape ahead . . .

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Emergence, my newest creation

In between the remodeling, landscaping, and making cool stuff out of next-to-nothing, I like to create books. I have two books coming out this month. One of them was just released this past Saturday. Emergence is the second book in my Quantum Faith Effect series. (Next week's post will feature my other book)
In the previous book in the QFE series, Josh has had his mind and heart stimulated as to the existence of God--something he had never really thought about before. In Emergence, as he searches for answers, his belief and desire to know more about God emerges. In the process he butts heads with his atheistic
biology teacher, creating a science fair project that challenges Darwinism. He is also pulled into a dilemma within his school basketball team. Someone is pushing steroids and he needs to find out who and stop them before they destroy the team. And of coarse, there's a touch of teen romance as Josh's feelings for Ester grow and he has to compete with his best friend for her heart.

The best place to get a copy of my new book is on Amazon

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Easy Throw Pillow From Old Jeans

With two new books of mine launching this month, I'm kind of busy so I'm going to share an easy creation of mine: a throw pillow made from the pant leg of a pair of jeans. I've got no instructions because I made this several years ago. Hopefully, the picture alone will give you what you need to create your own. Basically, I just cut the pants down the middle to one side of the zipper and just above the worn out knee. Placing wrong sides together, I sewed the two cut sides closed, turned right side out, stuffed it, then top stitched the waistband at the top to close up the pillow. Easy-peasy.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Creating a Book That's Good For Teens--in Many Ways

I first started writing Existence eight years ago. It didn't bear that title then, or resembled even closely what it is now, but the idea was the same. I wanted to create a story that could bring the lives of inspiring men and women of history to life for teen readers. I was first inspired by the book, Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, by Mark Twain. Twain's book move me so much that I wanted my kids to experience it, but it was an eight hundred page book not conducive to teen readers. I have since developed the idea into a series that I hope is not only intriguing to my readers, but uplifting and edifying. Interestingly enough, the subject of God somehow always wove itself into the themes of each book. Maybe because I feel He nudged me into continuing with these books when I felt like giving up. The other day I received my first "fan" mail from a reader and it made my eight years of effort worthwhile.

I'd like to share it:

Hey, I just wanted to let you know my 17 year old, Nikolas, is reading your book and loves it. I told him I needed to read it read it, but he took it first and I can't get it back until he's done. He keeps coming and telling me how much he loves it. He said its like an LDS "God's Not Dead." That's awesome! And believe me, it takes a lot to impress a kid who spends most of his time reading books like The Joseph Smith Papers and Brigham Young Discourses and studies Hugh Nibley😊

FYI, the second book, entitled Emergence comes out next month. The third and final book in the series comes out at Christmas time.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

My Easy Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

This is a recipe I came up with over a decade ago and it is still my favorite vinaigrette salad dressing. It is very versatile. I use it on green salads. I add it with Parmesan cheese to penne pasta, cherry tomatoes, shredded yellow summer squash, and red bell peppers to make a tasty pasta salad. I use it as a marinade to prepare meat and veges before I grill them.

Mom's Vinaigrette Dressing

*2 TBS dried sweat red pepper flakes (pulverized in the blender first)
2 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS Balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 to 3 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons honey or sugar
slowly add:
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water

Grind the pepper flakes in a blender almost into a powder first, before you add any wet ingredients.

Add the next 8 ingredients, blend.

Add the water/oil slowly, mixing well.

Pour mixture onto a salad or into a bottle to put in the fridge and use later. Dressing stores well in the refrigerator and will keep for several weeks.

*I slice up ripe, red bell peppers from my garden every fall and dry them in a food dryer to be used in recipes through out the year.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Use old political sign stakes to trellis your peas

After my husband's campaign for city councilman last November, we were left with a bunch of political lawn signs. I dumped the plastic signs in the recycle bin, but kept the metal stakes knowing I could put them to good use in my garden. I have used them in the past and found they work well hold up peas so they don't have to grow along the ground. I am not only recycling those stakes, but ensuring a better pea crop this year from my garden. :)

Here's how you do it. Before the peas get too big, simply push them into the soil in a zig-zag pattern along the length of your row of peas.

You'll have to squint hard to see the stakes in the picture below. That's another good thing about these stakes, they are barely noticeable in your garden.