Growing up, learning how to use a sewing machine is one skill I never learned. Oh, I had one of those silly little craft machines, and I did everything I was told to do when using a machine. But everything I tried to make unraveled the minute I took it off the machine. I concluded I must be a horrible seamstress, gave up trying to use a machine, and just learned to hand sew a little.
Then I got one of those craft machines for my girls a couple years back. You know what I noticed about them then I'd never noticed as a kid? Those things don't have bobbins! Of course nothing I sewed held together. There wasn't anything holding the stitches to the underside of the seam!
Armed with that bit of knowledge and many years more experience, I went to my mother-in-law to learn the basics of using a sewing machine. Then, I've been watching videos and reading everything I can about reading patterns, creating patterns, and construction using fabric.
I still have a lot to learn, but I thought maybe I could bring you with me on this journey. If you've never learned to sew but would like to, maybe you'll find inspiration. If you know what you're doing, maybe you'll find a lot of laughs.
Today's review is of Never Trust a Sorcerer by L. R. Barrett-Durham. It's a fantasy adventure novel with a strong female protagonist. It has a touch of romance without that becoming the main focus of the story.
I will try to keep all reviews as spoiler free as possible. All reviews will be available here, on YouTube, and Goodreads.
The antagonist is a powerful sorcerer with a yen for world domination, and he's both tried and failed once before. He's been searching for the magical relic he was using in that attempt a few decades earlier since it was stollen, which is what ended his original bid for planetary despotism. He's just a little bitter and out for revenge against the family who stole his weapon to tide him over as he searches.
Chris and I were at Huntsville Comic and Pop Culture Expo this past weekend. It's a family friendly, general interest convention in our local area, and it's a great new but growing show.
The expo was in its second year, and it was more or less twice the size this year. The venue was the local civic center's north hall, which is where the local Cumulus stations would hold their Bridal Fair (T) most years. It's a BIG room, and it was packed with venders, stars, and convention goers all weekend.
If your family is anything like ours, mornings are hectic and a bit rushed. Don't let that keep you and yours from having a good breakfast though. Here are a couple of make ahead ideas you can whip up one morning or afternoon when you have more time that will keep all week long and only take a minute to reheat.
As you can see from the images, both of these recipes use muffin tins. If you want to make both at once or need to make lots of both to feed a larger family, I would highly suggest investing in two of the large one dozen muffin trays. It just makes things a lot faster on the day you make them. Two dozen omelette cups and about a dozen and a half oatmeal muffins works pretty well to keep my family of four fed for a full five or six days.
I've been doing book reviews over on the A. B. England author site and Goodreads for about a year now. I don't write reviews for the books in the Contented Comfort store because, well, they're all written by me, or potentially by members of my family if and when the time comes. Still, I would like to have more to do with books here on the website because they are an integral part of the idea behind this company's founding because there's just something comforting about curling up with a good book.
Therefore, I'm planning to start publishing book reviews here as well, starting with the four I've done so far over the next few months and adding in news ones as they come. To that end, today I want to tell you about the rubric I use to grade books and how to translate the number of stars given in the reviews.
Spring is right around the corner, and you know what that means. Our spring seasonal fragrances, April Showers and Strawberry Picking are back!
April Showers is a bright and airy blend of marine, ozone, lily of the valley, lavender, juniper, rose, and fresh soil. Each bar is just a bit different from each of the others, and their intricate, bright design make them perfect for adding a touch of spring to your home decor.
This blend of strawberries, dirt, honey, citrus, peach, rose, jasmine, and lily will have you longing to find the nearest farm that hosts strawberry picking.
Chris and I will be at Huntsville Comic and Pop Culture Expo again this year.
This family friendly show is expanding for their second year. The expo will be held in the Von Braun Civic Center's North Hall in downtown Huntsville, Alabama.
I worked Bridal Fair at the North Hall several years in a row back during my days at Cumulus Broadcasting, so I can say with confidence it's a good venue for the expo for the size it is now.
Anyone who has stopped by one of our booths at the various conventions and events we go to in the past few years knows I write fiction in addition to soaping, blogging, and vlogging. I have a novel and a collection of short works out now, and I'm well into the process of producing another novel. But, what you might not know is I've also been working on a series of flash fictions for a year now.
Each week since early February 2016, I've written a flash fiction story of 500 words of less based on first line prompts I either pulled from online sources or gotten from reader suggestions. At the end of March, I began making audio versions of the flash fictions and posting them each Friday over on Eng Family Vlogs. Then over time, the flash fictions began to intertwine and connect until I began to realize I'd created several new fictional "universes" in addition to adding to the three "universes" I've been writing in for years.
Valentine's Day is coming up next week. I thought I would share a fun and simple cookie recipe with an impressive presentation you can make for your someone special.
Chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate covered cherries are a Valentine's staple. They're delicious, but they can be a bit predictable. This recipe shakes up the concept just a bit by incorporating those classic flavors in cookie form. They're a variation on the classic Jello cookie, and you can make them in any flavor variation you like.
The batch pictured above was made using strawberry because that's what the dollar store I went by happened to have in stock, but I'd imagine they'd work just as well with any fruit flavor you might dip in chocolate.
As I said in the last crochet tutorial, half double crochet is my favorite stitch, but double crochet runs a close second. It's a perfect stitch for when you want something super soft but don't mind having a relatively loose weave, and it's the foundation for many of the other "complex" stitches and patterns.
Today's tutorial assumes you already know how to make a slip knot, chain, and yarn over. If you haven't learned those techniques yet, please go to the first tutorial in this series first, where you will learn those as well as the single crochet stitch. You may also want to check out the half double lesson before continuing with this one.
If you have those stitches down, let's move on to double crochet.
Amanda is the artisan behind all the products made and sold by Contented Comfort.