The King’s Blooming Rose | Review and Giveaway

The King's Blooming Rose Giveaway

Last year, I was introduced to the delightful magazine, The King’s Blooming Rose. Edited and published by homeschool graduate, Sarah Bryant, The King’s Blooming Rose “offers quarterly encouragement to Christian girls.” KBR encourages young ladies to “become delightful cornerstones at home, under the guidance of their parents according to Titus 2 and Proverbs 31.” Each issue features themes such as abiding in Christ, contentment, femininity, and Scripture memory.

My sisters and I were gifted with a year’s subscription by a sweet friend and we have thoroughly enjoyed each issue. In fact, we’ve loved it so much that we ordered all the back issues. So, to celebrate 100 posts on The Blue Tree House, I want to give away a year’s subscription to one of my readers.

To enter this giveaway, just leave a comment with your first and last name. You can enter additional times by

1) Pinning the top picture
2) Sharing on Google+
3) Sharing on Facebook
4) Sharing on Twitter
5) Sharing on your blog

Leave an additional comment for each entry with your name and a link, if possible.

Giveaway closes Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 12 P.M. CDT. Winner will be announced Friday, March 27.

How to Alter a Formal Dress

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In October of 2013, I had the privilege of standing as a bridesmaid in my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding. We ordered the bridesmaid dresses from an online company using our measurements. Unfortunately, when my dress arrived, it had several issues. The waist was too snug and I couldn’t take a deep breath. The lining of the dress was too small and caused the overlay to bunch up. We did not have time to reorder the dress so I headed for my seam ripper.

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To make the waist measurement larger, I began by finding the largest amount of seam allowance. Usually it will be in the side seams or along the zipper. I had a large seam allowance by my zipper.

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Carefully begin ripping the stitches out on both sides of your zipper. The material of formal dresses can be delicate so take your time. I stopped ripping just past the ruched waistband.

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Look at all that extra fabric. It was like finding gold! [grin] Next, I started reinstalling the invisible zipper. Here’s my favorite tutorial on installing invisible zippers. Sew the zipper to the bodice first.

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Hand sew the lining to the zipper using a whipstitch. Hand sewing the lining in fixed my problem of the bunched overlay.

Repeat the entire process on the other side. Carefully steam the dress.

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The finished product–you can see where I let it out. After I steamed it, it looked much better.

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This is the best picture I could find of the back of my dress while it was on me.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Formal pictures (the 1st and last) courtesy of JN Photography.

Knitting Block by Block | Book Review

 

As a novice knitter, I was excited to see a knitting book available for review on Blogging for Books. While the book isn’t specifically written for beginners, the instructions are clearly written. With lovely, easy-to-read patterns, Knitting Block by Block by Nicky Epstein would be an excellent addition to the knitter’s library. It comes with 150 block patterns for creating a variety of beautiful projects.

The book also includes projects using the blocks you create. I’m looking forward to trying projects like the Crossed Cable Cuffs and the One-Block Toys. You’ll also find projects for afghans, scarves, bags, sweaters and more.

Disclaimer: Blogging for Books sent me this book in exchange for my honest and thoughtful review.

 

 

hand in Hand | Book Review

The books that I have read by Randy Alcorn have been an encouragement in my Christian walk. When I discovered that he had published a new one, I eagerly ordered it. In hand in Hand, Mr. Alcorn examines the perplexing questions and debate over reconciling God’s sovereignty and human choice. He endeavors to look at the issue from all of Scripture instead of select verses.

hand in Hand is basically a shorter version of If God is Good but has a heavier emphasis on explaining the Calvinistic and Arminian positions of God’s sovereignty and human free will. Randy Alcorn is a Calvinist but does provide a fair overview of the various positions. This theological book includes a liberal amount of diagrams and references as he attempts to explain how the seemingly opposing positions actually work together.

I would not recommend this book to just anyone. It is definitely not an easy read. If you’re looking for a good book on the topic God’s sovereignty, I’d recommend If God is Good by Randy Alcorn. The terms and language used are much more down-to-earth. If you do choose to read hand in Hand, be prepared to learn some new words and definitions.

Disclaimer: Blogging for Books sent me this book in exchange for my honest and thoughtful review.

January Update | Personal

You may have wondered where I’ve been for the past month and a half. I took an unexpected but completely necessary sabbatical from blogging. It has been an exciting, sweet, busy, sad, and special time for me. I am definitely looking forward to posting more often now and have several ideas simmering.

Here are a few photos from the last month or so.

I had a delightful Thanksgiving break and was able to spend it with one of my best friends. Hannah and I talked for hours and hours and hours. [grin]

December started off with a most exciting event. I had the privilege of attending my first birth as a doula. Little Rachel was born at 2:47 a.m. on December 1st. IMG_8895 For our family picture this year, we went with a jewel-tone theme. The younger kiddos really look tall in this picture!

My grandfather, Pop Criswell, went Home to be with the Lord after 2 1/2 weeks in the hospital. It was an incredibly sad but sweet time. Our Christmas Day was a special time as we stood around his bed and sang his favorite hymns and Christmas carols. God called him Home January 1, 2015.  His funeral was a beautiful, victorious, God-honoring service. Over 70 preachers and preacher boys sang “Faithful Men” for his funeral. Please pray for my grandmother as she adjusts to life without her husband of 62 years. She has been an incredible example through this entire time. She is a beautiful living illustration of the Proverbs 31 wife.

Homemade Decadence | Book Review

I love baking for my family. And with lots of brothers, I’ve never had a lack of taste-testers. [grin] When I saw this book, I knew I had to try it. An entire book filled with “irresistibly sweet, salty, gooey, sticky, fluffy, creamy, crunch treats”? Yes, please!

Filled with delicious recipes and beautiful pictures, Homemade Decadence by Joy Wilson is a good addition to your kitchen library. Recipes are divided into chapters such as, “Brunch”, “Pies, Crumbles, & Cobblers”, and “Ice Cream Social”. Just a few of the recipes included are, “Vanilla Sugar Doughnuts”, “Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies with Creamy Peanut Butter Filling”, “Toasted Marshmallow Squares”, “Brown Sugar-Cream Cheese Ice Cream”, and “Dark Chocolate Brownies Cupcakes”. Is your mouth watering yet?

Of course, in order to provide an accurate review, I had to test several recipes. The “Maple Apple Upside-Down Cake” would be a delicious addition to any fall party or dinner. My younger siblings especially enjoyed the “Vanilla Bean Confetti Cookies”. I did substitute vanilla extract for the vanilla bean and the cookies turned out just fine. I also tried the “Under-Baked Chocolate Chip Skillet Cake”. If you like your cookies under-baked with just a bit of crispiness, you’ll love this cake.

Note: The one thing I did not like about the book were all the beverage recipes that had an alcoholic beverage as an ingredient.

Disclaimer: Blogging for Books sent this book to me in exchange for my honest and thoughtful review. 

Acorns, Races, & Sin

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“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…” Hebrews 12:1-2a

It was a beautiful fall afternoon and I was leading my siblings in our daily exercise time. The sun was shining, leaves needed to be raked, and everyone had lots of energy. It was a good combination. I decided to bring some fun into our afternoon activity. A few of us raked a complex path/racetrack through the leaves.

After some footraces in which various siblings competed, we positioned ourselves to begin a relay race. The three youngest siblings would begin by running half of the track and handing their baton to their assigned sibling, who would then finish the race. I was paired with my youngest (and smallest) brother so I shed my socks and shoes in favor of bare feet. I needed all the speed I could get. When the baton reached me, I took off running. Unfortunately, I failed to remember all the acorns that covered my path ahead. As I was running, I stepped on one of those tiny, sharp acorns. I felt the cut but continued running anyway.

When I reached the finish line (second place), I discovered that the acorn had caused a rather deep cut. I couldn’t clean it completely and had to wait until my EMT brother got home. He was able to fully clean and bandage the wound and it is now healing.

As I was thinking over this event, I was struck with a few truths.

#1: As Christians, our lives are like a race (Hebrews 12:1). We began the day we were saved and we are running toward to the Ultimate Goal–Jesus Christ. Each moment, each day is step closer to our Goal. Godly parents and mentors have passed the baton to us and we are to be running toward Jesus.

#2: Sin can be like acorns. Though I knew the oak tree stood there, I failed to adequately prepare myself to run. As fallen human beings, we sin every day. We see sin and its’ effects all around us but how often do we forget how powerful it is? We sin but fail to confess. We can continue limping on in our race but the power is gone.

#3: Confession of sin is like cleaning a wound. Getting my foot completely cleansed of all dirt was painful but necessary. Had I skipped cleaning the wound, it would eventually have become infected and caused much bigger problems. When we fail to confess our sin, it weighs on our hearts and minds. It festers and slows us down in our race. We can only obtain full cleansing and freedom when we confess our sin.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9