Thursday, November 15, 2018

"Love's Christmas Blessings" by Laura V. Hilton and Rachel J. Good

About the Book

Book: Love’s Christmas Blessings
Author: Laura V Hilton, Rachel J Good
Genre: Christian Fiction, Amish, Christmas
Release Date: November, 2018
Publisher: Celebrate Lit Publishing
Winter’s Treasure
Paris Kauffman believes she is about to embark on her family-tradition birthday treasure hunt, but for the first time ever, her daed is sending her to various businesses and homes in the community. Little does Paris expect that when she enters the bakery to collect her gift, the bus will drop off none other than her old crush, Aquila Stutzman, the man she’d done everything except cartwheels and handstands to get his attention. And failed. Of course, Quil doesn’t remember her.
Quil was offered employment working on his grandparents’ new tree farm in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Since he’s recovering from a broken heart when his longtime girlfriend Priscilla up and married his cousin, a move Quil never saw coming, he decides to take the job. This will give him time to separate himself from the hurt and maybe, eventually, move on.
Paris and Quil have sparks from the beginning, especially since his appearance causes a vicious rivalry between friends. But who can resist when a chance meeting beginning with donuts and coffee ends with a missing person, puppies, a skunk, and a sleigh ride—not to mention a trip the Amish young people plan to Niagara Falls. Could it also involve falling in love?
Mistletoe and Miracles
Daniel Graber has spent years caring for his aging parents. Now Daed’s in rehab with a broken hip and a bad case of irritability. He snaps at the workers and complains about doing physical therapy, so Daniel is grateful for the new aide, Fern Chupp, who uses her sweetness and charm to convince Daed to cooperate. Turns out, Daed isn’t the only one she charms.
As a widow, Fern is grateful for her new job at Fairview Rehab Center, even though it meant relocating to Ephrata, Pennsylvania, with her nine-year-old daughter, Lyddie. But Lyddie is grieving the recent death of her grandfather and dislikes leaving her Ohio home. Lyddie’s shyness also makes it difficult to make friends or recite school lessons.
When her class goes to the rehab center to interview patients, Lyddie’s too scared to do her assignment, so she runs away. During the hunt for her missing daughter, independent Fern learns to accept and appreciate Daniel’s help and support. By the time they discover Lyddie, she’s made a very unusual friend, and Fern and Daniel have developed a . Can four lonely heart create special bonds to make it a Christmas to remember?
Winter's Treasure by Laura V. Hilton: I found the story to be well written and flowed well. I liked Paris and the treasure hunt her family sends her on for her birthday. There were a few characters I wanted to give a piece of my mind and set them straight on how things were. They all seemed like I could go to the U.P. and meet them. It was fun to see characters we've met before and I'm excited to read more of their stories.

Mistletoe and Miracles by Rachel J. Good: I enjoyed reading this story. I found Daniel and Fern to be likable and believable characters. I especially "bonded" with Lyddie in her shyness. She made me think a lot of my son who struggled with being able to talk in his early elementary years. I liked the growth that the characters experienced. I look forward to reading more books by Rachel J. Good. 

About the Authors

Laura pictureLaura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with over twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write.
Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.
When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.
rachel goodInspirational author Rachel J. Goodwrites life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. The author of several Amish romance series, she grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for many of her stories. Striving to be as authentic as possible, she spends time with her Amish friends, doing chores on their farm and attending family events.
Rachel’s Amish series include Sisters & Friends (Charisma House & Harlequin), Love & Promises (Hachette/Grand Central), Hearts of Amish Country (Annie’s Book Club), and the forthcoming Surprised by Love (Kensington). She also has several anthologies in print as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Book.
To learn more about Rachel, visit her at www.racheljgood.com.

Coconut Potato Fudge Recipe:

Ingredients:
1/2 cup plain, mashed potatoes, either instant or one medium potato, cooked
1/8 cup finely chopped (or crushed) almonds (optional)
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
give3 tablespoons butter
Instructions:
Beat powdered sugar and coconut into warm potatoes; then add the vanilla extract and almonds.
Press into a lightly-greased 8-inch square pan; set aside.
In a saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally. When melted, pour over top of the potato mixture.
Refrigerate until set and then cut into squares.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Blog Stops

Vicky Sluiter, November 11
The Avid Reader, November 11
BigreadersiteNovember 11
Among the Reads, November 12
Wishful Endings, November 12
Britt Reads Fiction, November 13
Maureen’s Musings, November 14
Quiet Quilter, November 15
Blossoms and BlessingsNovember 15
Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 16
Bibliophile Reviews, November 18
Splashes of JoyNovember 18
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 19
Mary Hake, November 19
Just the Write Escape, November 20
Moments, November 21
Bukwurmzzz, November 21
Blogging With Carol, November 22
Texas Book-aholic, November 22
Janices book reviewsNovember 23
Carpe Diem, November 24

Giveaway

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To celebrate the tour, Celebrate Lit Publishing is giving away
Grand prize of $25 Amazon gift card
1st place: Paperback copy of Love’s Christmas Blessings
2-4th place: eBook copy of Love’s Christmas Blessings!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d8a0/love-s-christmas-blessing-celebration-tour-giveaway

"Love's Christmas Blessings" is available in Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 4090 KB
  • Print Length: 233 pages
  • Publication Date: November 15, 2018
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B07K2M1R3B

I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received for my review.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Anniversary Present

During the last week of December last year, I got the idea to make my parents a graphgan for their 50th wedding anniversary. I was trying to finish up my temperature blanket but kept getting distracted by figuring out how to make a graphgan of my parents' wedding picture.


I checked out several programs/websites and finally settled on stitchboard.com. I still didn't really like the way the graph turned out as it had a big white blob on my dad's forehead and my mom's dress was half cream and half white, with no shading. I figured I could tweak it myself, but then I discovered that Stitchboard had other color palettes to pick from, so I tried them and found one I liked. The widest that the graph could be was 150 stitches which made it 255 rows tall. (For a total of 38, 250 stitches) I still needed to change some of the colors as it had pink, cranberry, and 2 shades of green. I wanted to use all the same brand of yarn but wasn't able to find the right colors I needed and ended up with a variety of brands.


Red Heart Super Saver Soft White
Bernat Natural
Red Heart Super Saver Aran
Caron One Pound Off White
Caron One Pound Soft Grey
Mainstays Medium Grey Heather
Red Heart Super Saver True Grey
Red Heart Super Saver Charcoal
Caron One Pound Dark Grey
Red Heart Super Saver Black

Originally, I was going to leave the yarns attached to the skeins, but soon realized that it was not a good idea!

So I wound off 10 yards of the colors and put them on clips or bobbins. It made it a lot easier to keep things organized. I did leave my lightest color still attached to the skein as I was going to use a lot of it.


I hadn't gotten very far before I wasn't happy with the darkest light color. It was thinner than the others and fuzzier. But I didn't have any other options so I continued. When I had 10 rows done, I knew I had to do something different for that color. 



So I looked some more and came up with a color that would fit in the color gradient scale closer to the lighter end. I knit up a 20 stitch swatch in the 10 rows to see if it would work.




I liked how it looked better, so I ripped out what I had made and rearranged the colors and adding the new color in as the 2nd lightest color.


I also decided to cast on with just 2 colors instead of the 10 colors the chart gave for the first row. It made it easier to do the first row with just the white and gray. 


I figured if I did 2 rows a day, not counting weekends, I'd get done with plenty of time to spare. 

This is how far I had gotten by May 2:



A week later, I put it aside. It was hard to work on with the kids being home and everything that was going on. This unfortunately caused me to have less time to get it finished in time. So now I need to do 3 rows a day.

Aug 30:


Sept 7:
Done with 2 sets of charts.


Sept 12:
34 bobbins so far


Sept 14 (1/2 done):


It is taking about 45 minutes per row now.

Sept 24:


Sept 26:


Sept 28:
This row took me an hour and 20 minutes to do the ONE row! There were so many color changes.


Oct 2:
56 bobbins.


Oct 3:


Oct 5:
2/3 done. 84 more rows, 36 more days until I need to be done. Working with 53 bobbins now.


Now I only have 1 set of charts left and with the amount of background, the rows should go faster.


The bobbins have gotten a bit tangled and messy.



Nice and neat and organized now.



Oct 10:


Oct 12:
Done with 3 sets of charts now.
Taking an average of 30 minutes a row.


Oct 15:
3/4 done.
It is measuring 40" wide x 36" tall so far.


Oct 24:
Only 25 bobbins now and about 20 minutes per row.


Oct 31:
16 more rows to go.


Nov 5:
I cast off today! It is 40" x 54"




Here are the bobbins I used during the construction of the blanket.


Backside:







Nov 6:
I laid the blanket on top of the backing fabric with the wrong sides together and pinned the blanket down to make it lay flat and even.



It was easiest to sit on the blanket while I worked.


All pinned down
Next, I folded over the edges of the backing fabric and pinned them down.


I had picked up these tags on clearance and we thought it was funny they were called "Crochet" labels when they all say "knit".


I sewed the backing down through all the layers.


All finished.



The tags I sewed on the back.  


I decided to give it to them after we set up for the party today.







Video of my parents opening the blanket:


I had decided to knit the blanket because with large crochet projects I've done, the sides sometimes end up wavy because the tension isn't always consistent. I would, however, crochet any other graphgans I might be crazy enough to undertake in the future. The color changes in knitting were much harder to keep neat and not too tight or too loose.