15 Beachside Novels That Are Worth Reading

I’m a big advocate of reading inspirational and educational books, but sometimes you just need to read a good story! There’s nothing like getting lost in an entertaining novel while sitting beachside on a summer day. Because I don’t read many novels, I usually find myself wandering around the library pointlessly while searching for a good book. Here are a few suggestions I’ve received recently of novels that are worth reading.  This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. Thank you for your support! Firefly Lane | Kristin Hannah A Man Called Ove | Fredrik Backman Where the Heart Is | Billie Letts I Capture the Castle | Dodie Smith The Interestings | Meg Wolitzer Be Frank With Me | Julia Claiborne Johnson All The Light We Cannot See | Anthony Doerr Redeeming Love | Francine Rivers Firefly Summer | Maeve Binchy Party Girl (The Girl’s Series) | Rachel Hollis Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants | Ann Brashares Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand | Helen Simonson The Blue Castle | L.M. Montgomery The Little Paris Bookshop | Nina George When Life Gives You Lululemons | Lauren Weisberger   After reading through the summaries of these amazing novels, I’m ready for a trip to the beach! Do you have any favorite beachside novels that you read year after year? I’d love to add them to my list!  More Inspiration Looking for more summertime inspiration? Check out these other ideas!  8 Great Cricut Projects for Summer 12 Simple (Yet Tasty)…
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10 Ways to Travel on a Budget

Travel season is here! We are planning a couple of vacations this summer. Here’s how we spend less than the average traveler every time we take a trip! Budget Travel I have always loved traveling. My earliest visions for this blog always included travel posts. When I started blogging 9 years ago, we were a homeschool family of 6 with a very limited income for travel. Now that our youngest son has graduated and will be leaving home soon for college, we are entering a new season of life. One that I hope will include travels to foreign and exotic destinations. Our recent trip to Colorado has opened my eyes to some new ways of travel that we hadn’t considered before. We usually travel off season, camp or stay in the cheapest of accommodations. As much as I love camping, my husband does not. He prefers more comfortable accommodations. Here are the things we have learned about comfortable travel that doesn’t break the bank. Affiliate links have been added to this page for your connivence.  By making a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. For a complete list of disclosure rules, see the disclosure page.   10 “Cheap” Travel Tips Traveling off season can save you a bundle. We find hotel and resorts discount their rates as much as 70% during the off season. Simply Google your destination for ideas of the peak travel times, then turn back the calendar. For example, we love visiting Florida. We have found that the best time…
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Congrats to the Graduate T-Shirt Craft

Graduations are coming up quick! Here’s a fun t-shirt you can make as a gift for your graduate!   Crafting a T-Shirt I recently started using a Cricut Maker for a few projects on my sewing blog. Now I have become seriously addicted to making things with the Cricut! This easy project has a bit of snarky humor in it. Our youngest son is graduating this year and we love to make grammar jokes at our house. It’s a nerdy homeschool thing that we do. Who knew grammar was so fun? Haha! For this project, I am partnering with a group of talented crafty bloggers to bring you all kinds of end of the school year crafts you can make with a Cricut machine. Be sure to visit the links at the bottom of this post to be inspired! Supplies Needed: A black t-shirt White Iron on Heat Transfer Vinyl or HTV as it’s called A Cricut Machine Standard 12′ x 12″ Cricut Green Cutting Matt Iron and Ironing Board Weeding Tools (for removing the vinyl you don’t use) Directions: Download this FREE file from my profile in Design Space.   Place the vinyl shiny side down on the cutting matt. Smooth out with a roller or press firmly to remove wrinkles and bubbles. Load the matt into the Cricut machine, press the cut button. Remove the matt after it’s finished cutting the words to be placed on the shirt. Remove the unnecessary vinyl with the weeding tool, pull it off gently from the matt side of the vinyl, leaving the words…
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Inspirational Books to Read in 2018

I am always looking for good things to read. This list is short but these books have been the cornerstone of my faith and purpose this year. I hope you will  be inspired try a couple of them! This post contains affiliate links. I will receive a small commission from your purchase at no additional charge to you. The book that has had the biggest impact on me this year is Called to Create. Jordan Raynor shows you how your faith in God can be a huge part of your businesses success. I devoured this book in just a few days, it’s a must read for anyone that runs a Christian business. Buy through my Affiliate Link here.   This book makes you want to take the world by storm. Highly regarded author uses the visual image of the lion to make you inspired to want more! Buy through my affiliate link here.   Daily devotions are so important for keeping my thoughts on the right track. This book is perfect for short devotions that require you to be still. For some of us, that is the biggest challenge we face every day. Buy through my affiliate link here.   Our church recently did a study on this book. The focus on living is not on perfection or business, but enjoying life as it is one breath at a time. No more worries to work faster, push harder and produce more. This year more than ever I have felt overwhelmed and exhausted trying to work to produce all the time. Rest,…
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Sew Fabulous Mens Holiday Pajamas

Some families have a tradition of wearing matching pajamas for Christmas Eve. This pattern is great for making easy memorable pajamas!  Men’s Hoodie Pattern I loved this pattern the moment I saw it. Our adult children are way past the age of wearing matching pajamas, but this pattern seemed like it would work for all of them. It’s technically not for pajamas, but the casual style and trendy hoodie is something that they all love. The pattern calls for knit and woven fabric which is rather unusual. The front of the shirt, the placket, pockets and front pieces are all woven material. The sleeves, back and hood are a cotton knit. Soft woven cottons and jersey knits make great sleeping attire and I love them together in this pajama set. I haven’t made the pants yet, more on that soon! Hoffman Holiday Fabric Collection This Near and Deer holiday fabric collection from Hoffman Fabrics is perfect for guys. It’s not too cutesy, or outrageously colored. It even has manly deer and stripes. Our son was thrilled with my fabric choices for this project. You can’t go wrong with classic black and white! Sewing Pattern Adjustments The cotton fabric is 44″ wide, but since the only woven pieces are in the front cutting the narrow width wasn’t hard. I added 2″ to the length at the waist for this McCalls M747 pattern. My system is to cut the pattern apart and measure the gap for the amount needed. The pattern seemed to fit well overall and was very straight forward to sew…
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How to Make a Fleece Lounging Gown

Make a Fleece Lounging Gown to slip into after a long day at work or relax after a hectic day with the family. This gown is a great project for beginner seamstresses!  This fleece fabric caught my eye at the fabric store recently. Loved the soft color pallet!   Fleece Lounging is King Making anything with fleece is always a good idea. Fleece is inexpensive, easy to sew and comes in tons of great patterns and colors. Fleece is also stretchy and very forgiving for new sewers who aren’t exactly sure of them selves. This project is easy to whip up in a single afternoon without a lot of fuss. It’s been a while since I have sewn much for myself. However, I have stocked up on fabric and patterns for a major sewing project in the future! More to come on that soon! This pattern is Mc Calls 7061.(affiliate link) I am sure I will be making several more of these lounging gowns, perhaps even a couple of them for holiday gifts. Speaking of gifts, check out my pattern shop for more handmade gift ideas here. The robe features a hood and a “kangaroo” style pocket which I love for keeping my cell phone close by. You could also make some booties or leggings to keep your feet and legs warm (they are included in this pattern). The modesty of this piece was one of the things that attracted me to it. Love the coverage in this garment! It feels cozy enough that I could run to the grocery store…
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How I Failed To Decorate our Dining Room

No one likes to say that they have failed. Today I give you permission to completely FAIL in your home decor. I completely failed in this renovation project, but all is not lost! The One Room Challenge Dining Room Update This week is the final reveal for the One Room Challenge. I have been avoiding writing this post, because it’s hard for me to admit that I have failed this challenge. I haven’t finished our dining room. I was really excited in the beginning, the painting was easy. It took me an entire weekend to paint the built-in dining hutch. The white is so much lighter, I really do like it. I am glad I took the plunge to paint all that dark woodwork. The next project  was the ceiling. This painted ceiling medallion gives the room something special. Our kitty loves to stare at the ceiling, she must find it interesting. I bought some great fabric at a fabulous price and whipped up a pair of curtains. I was on a roll! And that’s where the story ends. Actually, it came to a grinding halt. The END of the Dining Room ORC Story The table improvements are holding me back. I need to paint the table, but I don’t have the vision right now as to which colors to use. White, black? Grey, Chocolate? Can’t decide. Am having second thoughts about the curtains that  I made. I never have second thoughts. NEVER. Usually, I am an all in kind of girl. But, something in this room just doesn’t feel right. Our…
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Balloon Rally

I have been taking it easy lately. It feels good to spend time out doors, and catch up on things behind the scenes. My son and I took a side trip to see the Balloon Rally going on in the Monroe, WI. It’s a lovely small town in the southern part of our state. We ate hamburgers and ice cream from the food vendors, and listened to live jazz and blues music while we watched the balloons. A perfect summer’s evening in my book. I have always wanted to see the Balloon Festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I had no idea such a thing existed here in Wisconsin. I happened to see an ad for this event that they haven’t had in almost 5 years. What are the odds? We arrived at the fair grounds just in time to see the balloons filling up and taking off into the horizon. They are of course absolutely huge!  So graceful and beautiful! We were fortunate enough to be right below the flight path…. You would be surprised how loud they are as they release the hot air into the balloon. It seemed like we were so close we could have touched the basket! Have you ever read Around the World in 80 Days? Seeing the balloons makes me want to read it again, such a great book! As the balloons disappeared behind us, we would turn around and there would be another one up in the air ready to take off. There were 6-8 balloons total. They all took off at…
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7 Easy Beginner Sewing Projects

It’s nearly the end of the week and I haven’t accomplished much of anything on my to do list. I have had a million distractions here. I am also working on some bigger projects, but can’t reveal those just yet. So, I decided to put together a few posts that you may have missed. These are easy sewing projects for the beginning sewer. They also happen to be some of my favorites! Sewing Project #1: DIY Dog Bed This is Maggie. She is one of my all time favorite pooches, and she was my model for this DIY Dog Bed project. Sewing Project #2: Cowl Blouse This simple blouse is great for warm summer days. It is flattering for any figure type and super easy to throw together for the weekend. Here’s how to sew a Cowl Blouse. Sewing Project #3: Fleece Robe Sewing a fleece robe is another easy project. Fleece is easy to work with because you don’t have to finish the seams. This robe is warm and fluffy, every girl should have one in her closet for those cool evenings at home. Pajama pants are another easy item to make. You can make them from fleece, flannel, cotton, etc. They also make a great gift! Project #4: DIY Apron I love reusing fabric from different sources, this DIY Apron is made from an old flannel shirt. I love it for those really messy DIY projects! Sewing Project #5: These pillows go back to my early blogging days, I still love them.  The photos aren’t my best but…
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Why You Need to Learn to Sew

You may have noticed that I love to sew. I have dozens of sewing projects in my blog repertoire, sewing is one of my favorite things to do. Here’s why:   Believe it or not, I can sew just about anything cheaper than I can buy it. The only exception is with specialty items like winter coats or sequined evening gowns. Most of us already own a coat and few of us actually wear evening gowns. I suspect most people today would like to learn to sew to save a few bucks here and there, alter the clothes they already own or just for their own knowledge. At any rate, learning to sew will save you MONEY. 2.  I can sew faster than I can order things online and have them sent through the mail. You would be amazed at how quickly you can make things at home that cost a considerable amount of money to buy in a retail store. I often go shopping and come home with nothing except photos in my phone of things I want to make, or ideas for those I can make cheaper than I can actually buy them. 3.  I can whip up gifts at a moments notice. This is a huge benefit of sewing. Once you have a stash of fabric and supplies built up, there is no stress in putting together a last minute gift that is unique and special because you made it just for them. 4. I can sew my own clothes or make clothes for others. Let’s face…
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