Another Book Review!

A lot has happened since I last made a post here.  The biggest news is that our family has grown by one!  Our son was born in December and has turned our world upside down.  We can’t believe he’s already five months old!  (This has also slowed down my already snail-paced paper crafting.)

For now, I’d like to share another book review with you – Katie Schuermann’s The Harvest Raise is the final book in the Anthems of Zion series, and it does not disappoint.  I was able to read an advance copy of the book, and it was oh-so-bittersweet.

The Anthems of Zion by Katie Schuermann

In The Harvest Raise all of our favorite Bradburians are back, and they’re just as much fun as ever.  These friends are now exploring what it means to be a neighbor to others in their families and community, and they are teaching us how to be God-pleasing neighbors along the way.  This is always the best part of the Anthems of Zion series: the characters that we’ve come to know and love dearly teach us truths about our life together in Christ.  Then they provide encouragement and wisdom on how go out and be little Christs in the world.

The Harvest Raise by Katie Schuermann

Another perk of the Anthems of Zion series is that each book includes more anthems full of rich imagery and beautiful music.  You can listen to (and download!) all of the Anthems of Zion here, sung by the author herself!

Katie Schuermann’s writing has been compared to L.M. Montgomery, and I think this comparison is very accurate.  If you enjoy the Anne of Green Gables series, I’m betting you’ll enjoy the Anthems of Zion.  Check them out!  The Harvest Raise is already available for pre-order here, and you can pick up House of Living Stones and The Choir Immortal while you’re there.


Something new – a book review!

I don’t often use my blog to share much beyond cards and other craft projects, but I am more than thrilled to be sharing a book review today.  You’ll have to bear with this scientist who doesn’t often review books for this post!

The Choir Immortal by Katie Schuermann

The Choir Immortal is author Katie Schuermann’s latest book published by Concordia Publishing House, and it does not disappoint!  This book is the sequel to House of Living Stones, released last fall, and it brings us up to speed with our favorite characters living in the small town of  Bradbury, IL.

After reading the first book in a weekend, because I simply couldn’t put it down, I was anxious to read more about my dear friends from Bradbury (at least I sure hope these Lutherans would be my friends!) in this sequel.

Katie Schuermann weaves a story that you just can’t bear to put down.  Being among God’s people in Bradbury is such a comfortable place to be, even though (and especially because) they’re sinners just like us, and sometimes life is hard for them too.  Reading about these dear people (yes, I know they’re fictional!) and how they handle life’s trials serves as a great reminder of how great our God is and how He comes to us in His Word and Sacraments.

The book had me laughing and crying in all the right places.  Katie (we’re on a first-name basis because we’ve chatted on Facebook and shared our love of the Anne of Green Gables series.  That counts, right?!) knows her characters so well, and she allows them to say the right (or not so right) thing at the perfect (or not so perfect) moment.

House of Living Stones by Katie Schuermann

You could read The Choir Immortal without having read House of Living Stones, but I don’t think there’s much reason to.  House of Living Stones introduces you to these dear fictional friends (in such a comfortable way – I laughed, I cried, I laughed so hard I cried!) House of Living Stones will then lead you right into The Choir Immortal.  The characters you’ve come to know and love from House of Living Stones are all back again, and some of the not-so-familiar characters come to the forefront, adding even more depth and fun to the story.

It’s a joy to laugh along with these people, and doing so helps you to laugh at yourself and God’s people you interact with on a regular basis.  The book makes me want to know our Lutheran hymnody that much better and to work at being a better example of God’s love to those I meet.

Check out The Choir Immortal.  I don’t think you’ll regret it!  (You can find it in print or Kindle edition at Amazon, or in print edition from Concordia Publishing House.)

A Quick Card (for two challenges!)

I really liked this sketch from Pals Paper Arts that came up in my blog reading, and I wanted to whip up a card for someone that seemed like they needed one…what a perfect combination!  And THEN Darnell opened ANOTHER NBUS challenge.  She’s such a magical paper crafting fairy!  Two challenges it is for this card!

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The stamp and die (from Sizzix) are making their first appearance out of the package, along with the card back, which came from a package of patterned and solid card bases I got for a steal at Michaels.  So glad to have broken into them and used one!  Thanks for this opportunity, both Paper Pals Arts and Darnell!

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Another Snowflake Thank-You

This card (of which I made 10) sat in half-production on my desk for the longest time.  When the perennials started poking through the ground a week after snow had last fallen, I figured I had better get my act in gear to get them finished and out the door!

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The dies were all from Sizzix, and the Thank You stamp came from a Hobby Lobby greetings clear stamp set.

I’m happy to say they’ve all been sent out and were well -received.

Snowflake Thank-You


I’m putting in one more last-minute entry to Darnell’s NBUS challenge.  I completed all of these cards in the last few weeks, but didn’t have enough time to get them blogged!

This thank-you note went to the Women’s Guild at my church, who gave me a generous Christmas gift!  I had used the snowflake stamps (from Fiskars) and the outer snowflake die before, but not the inner snowflake die, or the sentiment, or the inner snowflake die.

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Inside of the card:

(The snowflake dies were all from Sizzix.)

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Thanks again, Darnell, for this great opportunity! It’s so much fun to put things to use that hadn’t been used before!

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Puzzle Greeting Card Set

Our church is hosting a fundraising event for the Cincinnati Children’s Home High School for Students with Autism, and I volunteered to make a few items for the crafty part of the event.  I made this set of 4 greeting cards with my Sizzix puzzle piece dies (that I’ve never before used).  I’m hoping someone will want a collection of handmade greeting cards to send to their friends and family!

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I’m entering this card set in Darnell’s NBUS challenge, because I’ve never used the puzzle dies before.  They were a lot of fun; but almost as much work as putting together a real puzzle! They don’t all fit together in all directions!

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I also am using NBUS (that isn’t visible from the front) with my “Handstamped” stamp on the back.  I printed out labels with my name and blog address to add to the back!

Thanks for another chance to win, Darnell!


Baby Shower Invites

Exciting news!  I’m going to be an aunt for the first time!  My sister is having a baby at the end of April, so it was time to get together invitations for a Baby Shower.  My sister’s nursery theme is little lambs, so I wanted to tie into that with the card.  Her favorite color is also yellow, and they’re waiting to find out if the baby’s a boy or girl, so I’m counting this card as a win on multiple counts!

These cards went through a number of iterations…I kept feeling like they just didn’t look as great as I wanted.  I’m pleased with the outcome and the fun gate fold.

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This is the first time I put my cute sheep stamp to use, and obviously, also the first time I’ve used the “Baby Shower” sentiment!

I’m entering this in to Darnell Knauss’s NBUS challenge…So excited to have another NBUS challenge to enter!  (Thanks Darnell!)

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The baby shower stamp is from Sizzix, the sheep is “Lambie Pie” from Stampabilities, the sentiment frame is from Sizzix, and the frame around the sheep is from Stampin’ Up.  I watercolor penciled the sheep…he sure turned out cute!

Halloween Cards (A Few Days Late…)

I’m not one to make a big deal out of Halloween celebrations – I’d rather celebrate Reformation Day!  However, I had some great supplies in my October Paper Pumpkin, and I thought my grandmas would probably like a friendly little hello in their mailboxes, so these are the cards I came up with.

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I used the “Eat Something Sweet” sentiment from the Paper Pumpkin box on the inside of each of them.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m not sure if I need different watercolors to get darker colors, but my purple/orange sunset didn’t end up nearly as “spooky” as I had hoped.

What do you think?

I used watercolor paper for the bottom and wet embossed the trees in black.  The swirl dry embossing on the black card stock was from a texture plate by Sizzix, and the ribbon was in my stash.

October Birthdays – Part Three

Here’s the third of the three October birthday cards!  Thanks for hanging on for the ride!

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This fun card went to my Partner-in-Crafting-Crime in Oklahoma.  I enjoyed trying something with watercolors.  I stamped the leaves on watercolor paper and embossed them with white embossing powder, and then painted the watercolors over the top.  I currently have just a set of Crayola watercolors and am wondering if I need something better to get darker colors.  This card looks fairly dark, but you’ll see the lack of depth to the color in tomorrow’s Halloween card post.

The sentiment is the same as the previous two days, and the framelits for the sentiment are by Sizzix.  The stamp also came from my fall Inkadinkado set.  I definitely got mileage out of this set this October birthday season!

Thanks for sticking around for all three parts of this series!

October Birthdays – Part Two

After producing the card in the October Birthdays – Part One post, I wanted to use the gorgeous stamp again in a new way.  I came up with the idea of a three-part design with different, rich fall colors.

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I was really pleased with how it turned out, and thought the embossing folder toned down the “busy-ness” a bit.  The ribbon matched so well, I just had to use it, even though I think I’ve used the same ribbon on a birthday card for the same person before!  (Does anyone else remember or worry about these things?)

The stamp is by Inkadinkado and the square lattice embossing folder is by Stampin’ Up (I think it’s retired).  The frame around the sentiment is a bookplate from Sizzix (also retired), and the sentiment is by Stampin’ Up (a set from a past Sale-A-Bration called So Happy for You).

Thanks for sticking around for Part Two!