What to Do When When You Don’t Know What To Do by Cloud & Townsend

Michelle’s February Book Review Blitz- Book #7

Have you ever been confused wondering which direction you should take? Life decisions can be difficult. Sometimes, it seems impossible to understand what God would want you to do and distinguish that option from all the others. 
If you’ve ever been on a trip, you know that it isn’t fun being lost with no landmarks for guidance. Anxiety sets in as other cars whiz by and you’re in the wrong lane to get on the proper street, or is it the proper street? Several loops around the block and suddenly you can’t tell North from South. You head in what you think is the right direction, only to discover later that you’ve veered way off course. 

What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do: 8 Principles for Finding God's WayLife can produce that much anxiety too. If you’re caught in a bad habit, looping around in a dead-end career, or stranded with no clue how to get on track, there is hope. Sometimes you just need to know where to go for guidance.
I just finished reading What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. If you’re trying to find your way through a problem, maybe this book would be helpful. 
A Review of What to Do When When You Don’t Know What To Do

The book is subtitled “8 Principles for Finding God’s Way,” so it shouldn’t surprise the reader that there are eight chapters. Each deals with one principle for getting through uncertain times. The size of a gift book, this is a quick read. It’s almost a pocket guide. This isn’t a wordy or academic textbook. The authors teach the principles in simple terms making the content easy to process and apply to life. They use personal examples and illustrations, which makes reading both pleasant and practical, and the bonus material at the end provides guidance on several specific issues.

This book is suitable for giving to friends who are growing in their faith and those who aren’t familiar enough with the Bible to know where to seek direction. But I think the more spiritually mature will likely see the 8 principles as more of good review of the biblical concepts they already know.

Some of the authors’ statements are a little too simplistic. For example, the authors tell the reader, “All you have to do is ask [God] for answers and he will provide them”(p. 22). For someone unfamiliar with discerning God’s voice, the reader might not find it so easy to find the answers God provides. This could have used a lot more explanation.

Overall, this is a useful book. It would make a great graduation gift. I recommend keeping a few copies on hand to give to friends when they are experiencing a difficult decision or a discouraging season in life.

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Thomas Nelson Publishers, however, my reviews are always objective and honest.

Sneak Peak at Never Far From Home

February Book Review Blitz #6

Ready for some more “bonnet” fiction? I’m waiting for my complimentary review copy of Never Far From Home to arrive, but in the meantime, I thought I’d give you a sneak peak at the book on the day the book promotional tour begins.

Here is a link to the book trailer on You Tube

Would you like to know more about how an author researches a book such as this Amish fiction? Author Mary Ellis shared some of her secrets on her blog. She said, “Since Never Far from Home—Emma’s story—involves sheep, one morning I drove the back roads until I found the perfect Amish sheep farm. After I parked my car and ran to the fence to see them, the sheep came running to see me. What a joy to see dozens of God’s gentlest creatures frolicking down the hillside! When the Amish farmer joined me at the fence, he explained it wasn’t my magnetic personality that had drawn them, but their expectation of sweet treats. Nevertheless, asking him my list of questions on a sunny morning proved far more enjoyable than surfing websites.” Read the full article here

I’ll be posting a review very soon!

There is one more book review for you in my February Book Review Blitz coming tomorrow. Then I’ll take a break from reviewing and get back to regular posting. I hope you’ve found some time to curl up with a good book in this snowy season. 

Ideas for Canning Jars & A Friday Blog Hop

Canning Jar Ideas
My readers had some great ideas for ways to use old canning jars on “What Would You Do With This?” this week. I thought I would show some things that I’ve done with canning jars. You’ll probably recognize a theme in my decorations. Yeah, I know. Mostly I make candle holders. That’s why I asked you guys for some new ideas!
 
These are three different ways to use canning jars and mayonnaise jars.
  • The one on the left, I purchased at a yard sale. There is a muslin primitive snowman inside and an artificial pine branch. The top is a clear flower pot votive holder. 
  • The middle one was a gift from my sister. She primed the jar with a bonding primer like Zinsser and then used acrylic paints to do the background and snowman. It has a blue flower pot votive holder on top.
  • The one on the right, I made. I purchased the snowman when Christmas ornaments were 75% off. It had a string at the top (since it was an ornament) and I cut that off. Then I hot-glued the snowman to the bottom of the jar and sprinkled some fake snow (the Styrofoam kind) in the bottom. I put a flower pot votive in the top and tied a torn fabric ribbon around it.
I made this candle holder from an old blue canning jar. I used a clear votive holder in the top that flares out a bit (just enough to catch the rim of the jar). I’ve created it as a memory jar. I put sand in the bottom and then put shells inside that I picked up along the Pacific ocean in northern Washington last year.  The big shell on the outside was too big to fit inside, so I drilled a small hole in it and tied it to the outside with variegated ribbon.
 
This is a lamp that I made from a 2-quart antique blue canning jar. I filled it with spools and sewing notions. To make the fabric balls, I just tore strips of quilting fabric and then wrapped it around small Styrofoam balls, securing the end with a straight pin. The lamp shade was also wrapped with torn strips of quilting fabric. 

I’ve created candles from goblets and canning jars (jar not pictured–I gave them all away as gifts). To make the candle on the left from a glass or a jar, insert a small clear glass votive holder inside the jar. Then fill the jar around that inside candle holder with coffee beans. It looks like the cup is filled with beans, but really it’s filled around the inside holder. Put a tea light in the holder and when you burn the candle, the coffee beans will give off a light scent.
The jar on the right is for gift giving. I’ve used small organza bags and filled them with flavored coffee beans to make sachets. They can be given as a gift and the recipient can hang the coffee sachets in the car to smell like a coffee air freshener. 
I hope you were inspired by the jar discussion this week. Now it’s time to tell me what else inspired you this week. Tell me what you’ve featured on your blog by linking up to:

Follow Friday #8

I’m so amazed by all of the great ideas out there! Until this week, I didn’t really know what a cloche was, but thanks to the blog hop, I do now. Check out this sweet trash to treasure idea using a candlestick that came from Joan at Anything Goes Here.
 
I can’t wait to see what you share this week in the Friday Blog Hop. The creativity out there is so inspiring! Here’s how to link up:

Blog Hop guidelines:

1-Add a permalink to your specific post not the home page of your blog. Be sure to check that the link works after you post.

2-Add a short title for your post. This could be your name or blog name if you’d like.

3- Link back to this post from your blog, or send a link to your tweeps on Twitter (mention @trash2treas).

4-Check out the links and leave some comments on the sites you enjoy.

That’s all there is to it! I can’t wait to see your links and ideas. Never used MckLinky? It’s super easy. You don’t need an account or any software. Just click on “you are next” below and type a title for the post (or your name) and add a link to the location on the web. It’s that simple!

I’m linking up too! I’m linking this post to:

 

Michelle

Trash to Treasure Decorating
View the full post at http://www.trashtotreasuredecorating.com

Urban Amish? Debut of Plain & Simple Series

Ever Heard of “Urban Amish”?
 February Book Review Blitz #5
ABOUT THE STORY
 Jayne Tate is an investigative reporter for a major daily. When her editor demands she take time off to grieve the death of her father and get her writing back up to par, Jayne instead follows her instincts. She’s certain there’s a story to uncover about the Amish, but where to start?

An initial interview with the intriguing owner of an Amish furniture store opens the door for Jayne to live with the Amish family he left behind. What she doesn’t yet know is that her journalistic observations of this sincere, yet conflicted family are destined to cause reflections of her own childhood.

REVIEW BY MICHELLE
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to visit an Amish community for a little while? Imagine the simplicity and quiet without the barrage of technology. I’m not sure I could give up my laptop for long, but it would be fun to experience the culture for a few days.

That’s what Jayne Tate got to do in Plain Jayne by debut author Hillary Manton Lodge. Jayne didn’t exactly find it easy to give up her laptop either, but visiting Amish country gave her an opportunity to do some soul searching. To be honest, when I received my complimentary review copy from Hillary Lodge’s publicist, I thought, not another Amish book! They’re everywhere and I’m a little burned out on them. But this author has a different slant than so many of the other series that are out there.

Lodge skips all the Pennsylvania Dutch jargon that other authors have in their Amish books. You won’t find any “wunderbar gut” or “Rumschpringe” here, and I found that refreshing. Instead, the author focuses on the characters and plot, and she does it without doing an injustice to Amish culture. The other difference is that this book focuses more on a non-Amish character whose encounter with the Amish helps her put her own future into perspective, where authors focus exclusively on an Amish young person struggling to decide whether or not to embrace the Ordnung. Although some of that is sprinkled in the story, it isn’t the main conflict.

This was fun to read. I love the wit in this author’s writing voice. Her humor and personality come through in a way that make me want to meet her in person. Harvest House Publishers knew what they were doing when they signed this author. I enjoyed this book very much, I’m looking forward to more from Lodge’s Plain and Simple series.

Plain Jayne (Plain and Simple)

 I’m networking this week with this other blogger:

What Would You Do With This?

3rd What Would You Do With This Wednesday?

This week, I’m wondering what you would do with a stack of old books. How could you recycle them into decor of some kind? Would you use the pages for a project? Would you stack them or turn them into art projects that make great gifts? Is there a way to incorporate them into furniture?

Tell me your idea in 250 characters or fewer on the MckLinky tool below. And feel free to include a link to an idea that you’ve already done on your own blog, or just link up to your blog so we can check out your other great ideas. I’ll name a WWYD winner next week based on the idea I like best. 

Sorry, I can’t afford prizes, but I’m happy to tweet your name and send you some blog traffic!

See last week’s post for the results of the 2nd WWYD contest.

Update 3/3/2010: Congratulations to Karyn from CanDarbryGarden for the winning idea this week. I love the idea of making a lamp from the old books! Also, honorable mention goes to Mary from LaughLady.com. I like the idea of using the books under glass on a table, or for picture frames. Thanks for linking up everyone!

Have something you’d really like some ideas for? Send me an e-mail and we’ll ask my readers what to do with it. 

Michelle

Trash to Treasure Decorating
View the full post at http://www.trashtotreasuredecorating.com

Painted Laminate Counter Top

The Tale of An Ugly Kitchen
When I moved into my house, I inherited a pretty ugly lovely kitchen. There were mismatched counter tops on both sides and the older part was stained and warped.It was really blah.
That was easy enough to fix, so I ordered new counter tops and my prince husband installed them for me. I took the doors off the ugly mismatched cabinet and made it my cooking area.
But the room wasn’t finished yet. There was this other counter top that was part of a built in china cabinet /peek-through to the dining room. Replacing that counter top was nearly impossible without a heap of trouble. It was this ugly…
…before I plastered and painted the wall. And it was still ugly with the fake wood grain laminate counter top. What was I to do?
 
Here is another view of the problem. 
I decided to look around on the internet to see if others had painted laminate counter tops. And alas.  They had. There were way too many opinions of how to do it though, so I decided to be brave and try it my own way. First, I scratched it all up really good with some sandpaper. Then, I primed it with a primer made for shiny surfaces. I like BIN primer by Zinsser or Bulls-eye by Zinsser, but there are others like Kilz.
That dried really fast. Then I used some regular satin finish latex pain over the top. I used beige to match my walls (See the paneling surrounding the built in hutch? Well, it’s beige now.) After this base coat, the fun began.
I scrounged through my craft paints and supplies and worked to match the faux finish to the other counter tops that I had purchased. So I sponged (sea sponge) and toothbrush splattered and dabbed with a dry brush until the surface looked right. I used some brown, some black, some white, and some tan. Then, I coated it with several (at least 4) layers of water based polyurethane letting it dry really good in between each layer.
It isn’t a surface that I use for cooking, just for serving and collecting clutter, so it has held up perfectly for at least 2 years now. If I had done this on a high-use area, I’d coat it even more and make sure that I never cut on the surface. 
With this change complete, I lived happily ever after…or at least until the next thing that needed remodeling. Here is a happy ever after picture.
 
 Next time, I’ll continue the story and tell you what I did about that awful built-in hutch! It was SO 70’s!
I linked up this week to:
Michelle

Trash to Treasure Decorating
View the full post at http://www.trashtotreasuredecorating.com

The Country House Courtship

February Book Review Blitz #4

Have you ever been so sure of the direction you wanted your life to go, but then unexpectedly, your desires change? I remember when I planned to be a career nurse, I’d send my children to the hospital daycare, and my husband and I would make loads of money. Then mid-pregnancy with my first son, my desires totally changed. I became a stay-at-home mom and eventually a freelance writer and speaker. Who knew? 
 
The Country House Courtship (A Regency Inspirational Romance)I just finished reading The Country House Courtship by Linore Rose Burkard and elements of the plot reminded me of my major turn-around as one of the main characters discovers that what she thinks she wants may not be exactly what she really wants. Let me tell you a little about this author whom I’ve not heard of until I was given this book to review. 

The Country House Courtship is a regency romance. This means that the book isn’t a modern interpretation set in historical times. It’s a book with the style and flair of literature form the early 19th century that’s also set in that era. The language is different from most romance novels and it reads more like a Jane Austen book than a modern story. 

About the Author

BurkardPublishers Weekly acclaimed the work of Burkard in its review of The House in Grosvenor Square, saying, “Ms. Burkard’s command of period detail is impressive..On the whole, it’s a tasty confection.”

Burkard, a fan of classic romances and graduate of City University of New York, began writing stories when she couldn’t find true Regency romance within the inspirational fiction category. “I knew that many women like me want stories that are historically authentic and offer glimpses of God’s involvement in our lives,” she says.

Raised in New York, Burkard now lives with her husband and five children in a town full of antique stores and gift shops in southwestern Ohio. This is her 3rd novel. To learn more about her, visit www.linoreburkard.com. 

Sneak Preview of the Book
Beatrice, sister of the heroine in The House in Grosvenor Square, is intent upon landing as wealthy a husband as her sister managed. Yet her youthful heart is about to encounter life lessons that will leave her re-aligning priorities and re-considering the individual upon whom she can depend and love.

Michelle’s Review
Linore Rose Burkhard won a place on my list of new favorite authors with this book. It’s a delightful story, well-researched, and packed with tongue in cheek humor that puts the reader in the head of the author as the narrator. But putting little notes in parentheses, the author answers some questions a reader might have about the plausibility of certain occurrences. I enjoyed this conversation between author and reader. I also enjoyed the elements of mystery and romance.

For the reader unfamiliar with regency romance, this isn’t a light read, despite the pace of the story and the entertaining aspects of it. Because the language and style is consistent with the period, it takes some thought to process. Dialogue isn’t always separated into new paragraphs for each speaker, which again requires thoughtful reading. Fortunately, the author has included a glossary in the back for those unfamiliar with certain regency terms. The other feature that makes sets this genre apart from modern romance or women’s fiction is the point of view. It changes often, sometimes within a paragraph since it is told in third person omniscient. Since I rarely read this style, it took a little getting used to. 

Reading this book was like getting a little historical culture lesson through fiction that was just as pleasant as consuming dietary fiber via a delicious brownie. It made it thoroughly pleasant! I’m sure I’ll be looking for other books by Burkard now that I’ve been hooked on the style.

Note: I received the book for review from the publicist, but all reviews are fair and objective.

Follow Friday Blog Hop #7

 Trash to Treasure Blog Hop
I hope you’ve enjoyed the new What Would You Do With This? feature. I love your creative ideas. I also love getting ideas from blog hops and link parties. I’m working on prepping for a writers conference where I’ll be giving a presentation on blogging for writers. I can’t wait to show them how much fun a link party can be.
My favorite post from the last blog hop was the recycled egg cups from Amy at The WhisperWood Cottage. This idea artfully demonstrates finding something at a great bargain and recycling something in a unique way. Way to go, Amy!
 
Now it’s your turn. What would you like to share this week? Have you rennovated an interesting piece? Did you find a great thrift store bargain? Figured out a craft project with recycled junk? Inspire us with your ideas. The blog hop will be open until Tuesday.

Trash to Treasure Decorating
Blog Hop guidelines:

1-Add a permalink to your specific post not the home page of your blog. Be sure to check that the link works after you post.

2-Add a short title for your post. This could be your name or blog name if you’d like.

3- Link back to this post from your blog, or send a link to your tweeps on Twitter (mention @trash2treas).

4-Check out the links and leave some comments on the sites you enjoy.

That’s all there is to it! I can’t wait to see your links and ideas. Never used MckLinky? It’s super easy. You don’t need an account or any software. Just click on “you are next” below and type a title for the post (or your name) and add a link to the location on the web. It’s that simple!
 

Michelle

Trash to Treasure Decorating
View the full post at http://www.trashtotreasuredecorating.com

What Would You Do With This?

2nd What Would You Do With This? Wednesday


This week, I’m asking what you would do with leftover canning jars. Sometimes, I have jars with chipped rims, so I can’t use them for canning anymore. I’ve used some for various projects, but I know you have some great decorating ideas out there. What would you do with canning jars or empty clear mayonnaise jars?

I’ll share pictures of some of my projects next week. For now, here’s your inspiration.

Tell me your idea in 250 characters or fewer on the MckLinky tool below. And feel free to include a link to an idea that you’ve already done on your own blog. I’ll name a WWTD winner next week based on the idea I like best. 
See last week’s post for the results of the 1st WWTD contest.

Have something you’d really like some ideas for? Send me an e-mail and we’ll ask my readers what to do with it. 

Congrats to this week’s winner, Michelle from Happy Hodgepodge Home. I liked her twine idea. It would be cool with stones or mementos inside the twine wrapped jar too. Thank you to everyone for the great ideas below. 

Watch for my canning jar ideas on the Friday, Feb. 26 post.

Michelle

Trash to Treasure Decorating
View the full post at http://www.trashtotreasuredecorating.com

Recycled License Plate Border

Looking for a fun border for a boy’s room or a “man cave”?
My 15-year old son has always been into cars and motorcycles. So, when we were looking for something unique to decorate his room, I had only to look as far as his closet! He likes to collect license plates, and now we have a way of displaying them. He has paneling on the walls (something I know I’ll be changing in the distant future) but this can be done on a drywalled wall too.
I attached them all the way around the room just below the ceiling, in the same place you’d put a wallpaper border. I used tiny finishing nails to attach them so that he can swap them out and change them around any time he’d like. Each has two holes in the top that are standard, so it’s easy to change them around. He’s trying to collect all 50 states, so as he gets new ones, he takes down duplicates.
 (got a little carried away with Picnik on the photo 🙂 thus, the B&W area)

If you don’t want to attach your license plates this way, you could affix something like a plate rail molding (as some craftsman and Victorian homes have) all the way around and then set the license plates in the plate groove. You’d have to check your building supply store for possible molding that would work.

When we came to a corner, we used smaller license plates from motorcycles, but you can easily bend a metal plate in half to hang in a corner. 

Where can you find license plates? We shopped at garage sales, asked relatives to check their garages, and talked with others who collect plates that might have ones to give away. It took around 50 license plates to go around his 11×15 foot room. If you If you don’t have enough to go all the way around, consider doing just one wall. 

Wouldn’t this be cool in a den, or the office of an auto repair shop too?


Other things to do with license plates.

There are other ideas out there on the web for decorating with recycled license plates. HGTV has some ideas for making a message board, a photo album, and storage binders here

And interior designer Julie Thigpen on her BelleMaison blog shows this mirror on her site:

I know there are many more ideas out there, but I’ll save some for another time. I’d love to hear your ideas for how you’ve used vintage plates.
 

I’m linking up this week to:

The Trendy Treehouse

Michelle

Trash to Treasure Decorating
View the full post at http://www.trashtotreasuredecorating.com