So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90.12

Saturday, 30 October 2021

Still Here!

 Hey everybody!  Just a quick check in to say that I am still regularly checking this blog even though I am not adding new content at this time.  Please feel free to contact me through the link in my profile if you wish.  You may also comment on a post and I will get back to you.  I have been able to "meet" many different people through this blog and have been happy to help a number of families with homeschooling questions.

Yes, we are still homeschooling!  Lass is 17 and doing Ambleside Online Year 10.  Laddie is 14 and doing Ambleside Online Year 6.  We really enjoy the Charlotte Mason style of education and appreciate so much all the work the AO ladies have put into this curriculum.

That is all for now!  Take care and God bless!

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Just Me

Hi, there.  I'm still around!  I've been thinking a lot about whether or not I should continue on with this blog.  We do have Internet at home again and I've got a notebook full of ideas.  It's just finding the time to make all of this come together.  I do have a book review that I would like to post, as well as some other items.  The problem is, I'm a procrastinator AND a perfectionist.  I am amazed by people who can write a blog post every day or even a couple of times a week.  I will try to come up with a plan and stick to it.  As always, I am available to contact through email if you have any homeschool questions.  Thank you to those who still visit my neglected little blog - I appreciate you stopping by!

Monday, 13 August 2018

Mason Jar Pincushion

Materials List

Mason jar/ glass canning jar
Canning ring and lid
Piece of cotton fabric about 6" x 6" (15cm x 15cm) - I used a scrap piece of t-shirt material
Polyester fill/stuffing - I used some batting from my stash, you could also use cotton balls
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Paint (optional - my canning ring was used and there were a few spots of rust on it so I gave it a quick coat of off-white chalk paint)
Ribbon/trim of your choice -to hide the rough edge of the pincushion (I used ribbon)
Stickers/embellishments for your jar (I used Recollections reusable stickers specifically for mason jars from Michaels)

Note: If you are doing any painting you probably want to make that your first step.

1st Step - Make the Pincushion

Trace the outline of the canning lid on the wrong side of the fabric. I used a double thickness of the fabric because I wanted the surface to be nice and firm. Take a handful of batting and squash it into a ball shape before placing it in the circle you drew on the fabric. Pull the fabric around the batting and handsew it together, clipping away extra fabric as you go. In the end you will have a sort of ball - round on the top, flattish on the bottom.

Centre your pincushion on the lid to make sure it's not too big. The diameter should be roughly the same. Now take the lid and cover the top with hot glue. The metal will get hot so be careful to not burn your fingers! Take your pincushion set it into the hot gluePush it down to make sure it sticks and hold for 15 - 30 seconds. Set this aside. Take the canning ring and run some hot glue around the top on the inside. Do not get any on the threads. Quickly take the pincushion that is now attached to the lid and shove it through the middle of the ring as far as you possibly can and hold it there for 15 - 30 seconds. At this point, I took an extra jar (not the one I was using for the project) and screwed the lid onto it to hold everything together while the glue completely sets. Add some extra hot glue around the base of the pincushion for extra security. Next cut a piece of ribbon to hide the join between the pincushion and the lid and hot glue in place. Then take a matching piece of ribbon and tie it around the base in a bow to finish it off. Secure this with a dab of hot glue if you wish.

2nd Step - Decorate the Jar

I used stickers designed for decorating jars which had been given to me as part of a gift. I'm sure many stickers would work as long as they were flexible enough to conform to the curved surface of the jar. Arrange your stickers around all the sides of the jar in a pleasing way. If you use repositionable/reusable stickers you'll be able to move them around if you don't care for your first try.

3rd Step - Filling the Jar

At this point, you can start filling your jar with your sewing supplies. If you will be giving this as a gift, some things to include might be:
a small pair of scissors or a thread cutter
a seam ripper
handsewing needles
pins with coloured heads
thread (a few spools in neutral colours)
buttons (perhaps the kind you would use on a shirt)
a cloth tape measure

I put an ergonomic thread cutter, colour head pins, an assortment of handsewing needles, and thread in neutral colours (white, black, grey, and brown) into mine

You could make one for cross-stitch and embroidery purposes by filling the jar with skeins of colourful embroidery floss (like DMC floss), an assortment of embroidery needles, and a pair of tiny scissors. It would be very easy to customise this project for different uses.

You could use a coloured jar instead of a clear one (or paint your jar with a glass paint like Vitrea for a custom colour)
You could paint your jar with regular craft paint, chalk paint, or even blackboard paint for a different look.
Instead of using stickers, try vinyl window clings (you'll want small ones)
Another alternative to stickers is decorate your jar with decoupage (you'll need Mod Podge for this)

Decide on a theme for your jar to give it a cohesive look. I used a piece of pale aqua patterned fabric and brighter aqua ribbon to go with my birdcage and flower stickers for a springtime feel. Some other ideas might be a rustic theme using burlap, twine, and leaf decorations; victorian with chintz fabric, lots of lace and satin ribbon, and floral stickers; or country using gingham fabric, ribbon in a complementary colour, and accents featuring roosters or sunflowers. You could also decorate jars using the different seasons as your inspiration - pastels and flowers for spring, a nautical theme for summer, warm autumn colours and leaves for fall, snowmen or snowflakes for winter. The possibilities are unlimited!
You could match the colours to the room the pincushion will be used in or you could use your favourite colour. If your project is to be a gift, it is a nice touch to decorate it in the recipient's favourite colour or use accents that are associated with their profession or hobbies (books for a librarian or teacher, flowers for a gardener, etc).

Friday, 17 April 2015


Sorry that there have not been any posts for over a year now (gulp).  It doesn't seem like that long ago.  Our lives have been very busy the last year and a half - moving, renovating a 1926 house in need of a lot of TLC, travelling for ministry and being away from home a good bit.  I do check up on the blog regularly so thank you to those who have left comments.  As always, please feel free to email me if you have any questions about homeschooling or anything else I've written about and I will do my best to answer you in a timely fashion.  Thank you, dear readers, for your support!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Book Review - The Miner's Lady

The Miner's Lady
by Tracie Peterson
Ely, Minnesota 1890 - The Panetta and Calarco families have been feuding for generations.  What will happen when Chantal Panetta's sister Isabella falls in love with Orlando Calarco, who reciprocates the feeling?  What lengths will Dante Calarco go to keep his younger brother marrying a Panetta?
This book is rather like the classic Romeo and Juliet story, except the ending is much better.  I enjoyed it but it was quite predictable.  There were a few twists that kept me guessing for a few pages.  My favourite character was Mrs Barbato (Nonna Barbato), Dante and Orlando's grandmother.
I would recommend this book to someone who was looking for a nice, light read.
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Please note: I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in return for my honest review.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Book Review - Into the Whirlwind

Into the Whirlwind
by Elizabeth Camden
Chicago 1871 - Mollie Knox, expert watchmaker and owner of the 57th Illinois Watch Company, is enjoying the benefits of the city's wealth.  Her business dealings with Louis Hartman's grand Chicago department store assure her of a market for her fine watches.  But change is in the wind.  When disaster strikes, who will she turn to?  Who can she trust?
This is the second book I have read by Elizabeth Camden and I enjoyed it very much.  The author has obviously put a lot of research into the historical background of the story and I appreciate that.  I enjoy historical fiction that uses authentic details and likely scenarios rather than over romanticising the past.  I'm not sure how many women owned businesses of the scale of Mollie's watch company in America in 1871, but the explanation that her father began the company and left it to her when he passed away seems plausible enough.
The characters are quite interesting and there is good character development even among the secondary figures.  There is one character who is so annoying you dislike her almost right away but her attitude is very fitting to the action going on.
The novel has a strong romantic storyline but that is not the only focus of the book.  It is "Christian" fiction but unobtrusively so.  There are a few mentions of prayer, faith, and the Creator.  This is an interesting historical fiction read with a clean romance story.
My rating: 4 stars
Please note: I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in return for my honest review.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Book Review - Stopping Words That Hurt

Stopping Words That Hurt: Positive Words in a World Gone Negative
by Dr Michael D Sedler

The basic theme of this book was gossip and the destruction it can cause.  I appreciated the author's insight into interpersonal relationships and the illustrations he provided.  The author is an ethnic Jew and a Christian and it was interesting to read about some of his experiences growing up in a Jewish home.  His section on the Holocaust is quite gripping as well.  I had never really thought about the psychology of the Nazi regime that made so many German citizens do what they claimed they didn't want to.

However, I found that this book was long on psychology and short on theology.  There was much space devoted to the positive/negative actions of the words we speak and there seemed to be the implication that words themselves are powerful, almost in a magical sense.  Dr Sedler says "Speak truth to your fears!" (p.146).  This sent up a few red flags for me.  It  sounds vaguely like Word of Faith or Positive Confession teachings.

Dr Sedler really did not dig into the New Testament teaching on the behaviour/testimony of believers.  There were many Scripture passages cited in the text - many of them were from the Old Testament (which is good), but there wasn't much dealing with the example of the early church.  Another thing I found odd was that Dr Sedler appears to be confused about the local church.  Dealing with Matthew 18.15-17, he says "Who, exactly, are we calling the church?  Is it the Body of Christ at large?  Is it the local congregation?  Is it the elders?  We need to figure that out before we begin the process." (p.221)  

On p.222, Dr Sedler writes,"I have seen issues brought before a church (emphasis mine) on a Sunday morning and I have cringed!  After all, in a Sunday service, who is in attendance?  Only members?  Only believers?  Certainly not!  Then why are we parading our issues in front of people who might have no idea about godly reconciliation and who certainly have no need to hear them?  This type of gossip and criticism only serves to alienate people and push them further away from God."  The local church  (a group of Christians meeting in a particular place) is not meant to be a social club for the unsaved.  There should be certain times when the church meets where there would not be any unsaved in attendance.  For instance, the early church broke bread together on the first day of the week (Acts 20.7).  These were disciples remembering their Lord's death, burial, and resurrection and fellowshipping together.  This would be the perfect opportunity for dealing with problems within the local church.  As another example, the believers that I fellowship with meet each Lord's Day morning to break bread together and remember the Lord's death till He comes again.  This is a meeting for sincere believers only.  Visitors who are not known to the group and have not brought a letter of introduction are asked to simply observe the meeting and not partake of the emblems.  The group would handle problems/discipline in this way.  First, the elders would become aware of a problem or situation within the fellowship and they would investigate it quietly and privately.  If need be, they would present it before the group after the breaking of bread.  However, before the matter was discussed, all the children and anyone not in fellowship in the local assembly would be dismissed.  Then the situation would be disclosed in as direct and brief a way as possible and the course of action be revealed.  Any questions/comments would be taken to the elders in private.  I'm not saying that we are perfect, but this seems to follow the pattern of the New Testament in dealing with issues within the local church.  If one is trying to counsel Christians on appropriate behaviour, you first should have a firm grasp on what the New Testament church is.

This book is very well-written, in a style that is easy to read and understand.  It was definitely an interesting read and not something I would normally buy for myself.  However, I cannot endorse this book wholeheartedly as I find many problems with the general theology.  This book is more psychology than Biblical instruction.  If you do choose to read this book, please read it with extreme discernment.

I would give this book 2 stars for the writing style and 1 star for the content.

Please note: I received a free copy of this book from Chosen Books in return for my honest review.