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Getting ready to attend the site warming party for Mom’s Most Wanted.

Moms Most Wanted Twitter Site Warming Party

I just love the concept of a twitter party to help drive traffic to a new site. (or an old one, really…) There are prizes and lots of new people to chat with, blogs to read and tons of new tweets to follow!

This party will be hosted by Resourceful Mommy.

newbadge2

Sadly I’m having issues with getting their buttons to show in my sidebar…but I’ll keep fiddling with it.

Now, if only Twitter wasn’t locking up right now, we could get started!

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Another book in the Virgin River series, Paradise Valley is another success by Robyn Carr. Picking up right where the last book left off, the characters that I have come to know and love in Virgin River now face a drastic life change in one of their nearest and dearest, Ricky.

Ricky has been part of the story from the start of the series, we met him when he was just a young teen, being raised by his grandmother, and watched over by Jack and Preacher. Throughout the series we’ve watched his ups and downs, growing pains, and witnessed his jump into adulthood when he held his stillborn son. Now he’s a young marine, and Jack gets the phone call that all parents (even surrogate ones) have nightmares about.

I find myself caught up in the drama, holding my breath to see what will happen next, and completely in love with the close knit town and the way they rally around their own offering as much help and support as they can, no matter what.

This book also continues that romance between retired general Walt and his movie star lady – and it brings back Dan, the mysterious man who has appeared several times over the series. Cheryl too comes back, though not to stay, at least for now. And we are given a glimpse of who she is becoming.

If you’re reading the series, don’t stop now, get this book and keep reading. If you haven’t started yet, I encourage you to pick up the first book and let yourself become part of this wonderful town.

Link: Paradise Valley (Virgin River, Book 7)

Link: Virgin River (Virgin River, Book 1)

Also try the Grace Valley series, also by Robyn Carr.
Link: Deep in the Valley (Grace Valley Trilogy, Book 1)

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I’m pleased to announce my very first “Featherwisp Designs” product. A union of crochet and sewing, this is a cute little tote bag, perfect for holding your current read, a project in progress, or those odds and ends a mother can never be without.

Behold: Summer Sherbet

From Featherwisp Designs

As the prototype, this bag has a bit of character, but I love the result. It’s bright and crazy and just plain fun.

This is a modified version of a simple crochet pattern found (free) on the web. The sewn in material was my own idea – and I’ve already thought of different stitches, sizes and styles of this design to add.

I have a whole selection of fabrics, and more pictures of Summer Sherbet here.

Currently I’m working on making a few more bags, with variations on the handle (matching fabric woven through for extra stability) and crocheted stitching as both sample and sale items. My goal is to have several pre-made bags on hand, and offer to make custom bags in any size and color. Hopefully others will love this design as much as I do!

Future products “in the works” – cotton washcloths, headbands, baby blankets

If you’re interested in a custom tote, or even the sample shown above, email me at: featherwisp AT gmail DOT com. I’d love to work on a special project for you!

My poor computer must really feel neglected. I haven’t spent much time inside in the last couple of days. The weather has been great, not too hot, but warm enough for squirt guns and car washing, picnics and icecream. Ok, it’s always icecream weather…but now it’s warm enough to eat it outside shall we say. 🙂

One of our favorite local destinations is Bridges Pet, Gift and Water Gardens. As the name suggests it is a pet store with a large gift section and plenty of cool water features for ponds and yards. My kids love it. There are always kittens and puppies to look at, a fish room with music and lots of stuffed animals and pretty things to ask mom for. The boys have been there three times this week (all in the last two days) and they are already plotting to go back.

We have also been to the nearby walking trail, it’s so beautiful with all the trees in full leaf, the flowers and grass all bright and fresh and plenty of shade from the surrounding trees. It’s a really nice trail that passes through the quiet outskirts of Snohomish, far enough away from roads and houses to let the kids stretch their legs. We have to dodge the random bikes, rollerblades, dogs, other strollers and horses, but it’s generally quiet and not too busy.

I squeezed in my curves workout early this morning, before they closed for lunch, knowing that it was going to get hot this afternoon. I’m glad I did…by the usual time for my workout, I was totally worn out!

We managed to wash and vacuum the car, clean the driveway, have a squirt gun fight and let the dog out on the leash for a walk all before Hubby came home. I used the garden hose, so as not to be outgunned. It was a wise move, as I was able to drench in retaliation the sneaky little imp who came up behind me and squirted water down my shorts.

On top of all that, we went out for dinner and ice cream once Hubby got home, and enjoyed the remaining daylight. I somehow managed to miss my own body with the sunscreen…so Mommy’s arms and neck rival the the brightest lobster while the boys managed to show only a burnt ear and little bit of pink on the neck between them. I guess that counts as a success, I’ll be the only one peeling.

Whew…what a couple of days! And the weekend hasn’t even officially started yet. I think I am going to tuck myself in with a movie and rest up for whatever tomorrow holds.

I attended my second #gno last night and enjoyed it immensely. Hosted by Mom It Forward, #gno is a “girl’s night out” twitter event where moms all over the bloggverse get together and chat about a pre-selected topic.

Last night’s topic was about reviewing products on your blog, disclosure of payment or freebies associated with the reviews, and how to keep your own voice through the process. I found the topic very interesting. So far I’ve only “reviewed” products that my family uses, and have not contacted or been contacted by the companies associated with those products. I was interested to learn that I could approach those companies myself, if I wanted to, and once started I wouldn’t have to review anything I didn’t actually use or like if I didn’t want to.

I’ve considered the idea of doing these types of reviews before. (eventually anyway, once I’ve been blogging a bit longer) My biggest concern was always keeping to the spirit of my blog. It’s my space, my thoughts and my opinion…not something I would want controlled by anyone else. Last night the same concerns were raised by other bloggers, and the panelists agreed that those were valid concerns to have. They talked about saying no to companies or products, and keeping with the “feel” of your blog, not selling out just to get a freebie.

Companies are starting to realize that bloggers have influence in the consumer market, and the smart ones are reaching out to take advantage of that advertising. This relationship between bloggers and companies is still in the early stages for the most part. Not all companies are interested, and not all know what to do with the bloggers once they have made contact. But I think there is a lot of potential here, even at the current stage of development. Bloggers (especially mom bloggers in my opinion) can make a real difference by promoting what they find to be healthy, economical, useful and otherwise good products.

The topic of negative reviews came up as well. There were a variety of opinions, but for me personally I really connected with those who said that they were honest about products they chose to reviews, but they would contact a company about their product and any problems they found with it rather than writing a nasty or overly negative review. Companies need that feedback, and changes can be made without having to make a big fuss about it. Obviously if there is something out there that is dangerous or that a company isn’t willing to change then others need to know about it, but it’s about approach and tact. At least as far as I’m concerned.

When a negative review is called for…the power that bloggers have is immense. The networks in place between bloggers ensure that word will spread very quickly in all sorts of directions. It’s a power that should be taken seriously, and handled with care.

My boys have just experienced the wonder that is Cheetos…And they are in love.

Before now I never bought them because I don’t like the crunchy ones. As a kid, I loved the supper soft cheese balls. I was so sad when they stopped making them. But this weekend at the store I noticed the Cheetos “puffs” and thought I’d give them a chance.

After the first questioning bite, my boys were sold. They started worrying about who had more, and Alex (2yo) even tried to grab one from Josh, claiming it was his! Josh of course immediately wanted to know if we could “buy lots and lots of these forever?” The highest recommendation in his world.

I didn’t think they were bad either, a nice amount of crunch, they reminded me of the cheese balls I used to love.

Halfway through the first bag, and three sets of orange coated fingers later, I can safely say that cheetos puffs are a big hit here. Now if only I could come up with a way to get Frito Lay to let me “test” their product for more reviews! 🙂

My Etsy order has arrived! It contains lavender, chamomile, and dried rose buds. Paired with the pretty printed sheer fabric I picked up at Walmart, I’m making some great sachets!

The sheer fabric isn’t the easiest to sew…in fact it’s quite annoying, but the end result is pretty cool with the colors I chose. You can just see what’s inside the fabric bag, but it’s tight enough to keep all the bits of dried flowers inside…and not in your drawer.

Of course, I gave the first one to Mom. But I plan to make more and perhaps post them up on Etsy eventually. I’ve been thinking about making some crocheted items to put up there too, so hopefully it happens sooner rather than later. I’ll post some pictures here too, once I have a couple finished.

As for the crochet items, I think I’ll post things like bibs, washcloths and bags…and if there’s any interest maybe I’ll take on a custom project or two for bigger items.

I’m also making curtains for Josh’s room. He picked out the fabric…black with blue dragons and red flames! Oh my…but he’s 6 and it’s his room, I think it’s fun that he got to choose what he wanted, even if I did try to convince him that a softer color might be better. I’m sure I’ll replace them with something more neutral eventually.

I’ve got my craft room all organized now, with each project in it’s own bin, and my sewing machine all setup. It feels great…and I can find my stuff now! It was hard to tell how much random yarn I had floating around, but I managed to fill up a pretty large bin with it so I have some extra to work with if a pattern catches my eye. Now I just need to find a bookshelf or something to put all my patterns and craft books on. Currently they are on the table, but that doesn’t leave a lot of room for sewing.

I’ve always been one to have multiple projects going at once, but lately I’ve actually been getting them finished with some consistency and speed, it feels great! It’s fun to look at a completed project…almost as fun as starting a new one!

I’ve been reading like crazy this week – must be all the rain.

Little Bitty Lies: A Novel , by Mary Kay Andrews.
Personal Rating: 4/5 Stars. Fiction
At first glance I thought this book was going to be just another romance novel, but I was wrong. Sure, there’s a hint of romance in it, but the story is about a woman struggling to survive after being abandoned and left penniless by her husband. The characters come to life very quickly, and I found myself shocked and enraged right along with the main character Mary Bliss McGowan as she discovers her husband’s betrayal. I cheered her on as she planned a way out of the nightmare and was on the edge of my seat with anticipation when one little lie spiraled out of control into a wild adventure with unexpected consequences. This book is about best friends, secrets, mothers and daughters and Little Bitty Lies.

Hissy Fit: A Novel , by Mary Kay Andrews
Personal Rating: 4/5 Fiction
Another book by Mary Kay Andrews, I found Hissy Fit quite entertaining. Set in the South, this book tells the story of a interior decorator named Keeley Murdock who thinks she has her life all figured out, until she opens a door at her wedding rehearsal that is, and finds her life turned upside down. Cue the Hissy Fit! Humiliated and needing work to both stay in business and keep her mind busy, Keeley takes on a client who turns out to be smitten with a woman he’s never even met. And if all that isn’t enough, Keeley’s past stands in the way of her (and her father’s) future and she’s forced to go in search of the truth. This book is well written and fun to read. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in a story full of fun and mystery, romance and Southern charm.

Savannah Breeze: A Novel , by Mary Kay Andrews
Personal Rating: 4/5 Fiction
Sequel to Savannah Blues, this book is another delightful southern tale following the lives of BeBe Loudermilk, and her best friend Weezie. Fooled by a man and left homeless, BeBe must figure out where he’s gone and how to catch him before he strikes again – all while trying to restore an old beach side inn and generate some income to put a roof back over her head. Plus there’s Harry. Harry is a mystery all by himself and BeBe can’t decide if she wants to strangle him or kiss him. I’d recommend this book as great summer reading, even if you can’t get to the beach! Pull up a beach towel, slather on some sunscreen and hang on for this crazy tale of betrayal, revenge and finding love in unexpected places.

And now for a change of pace, I’ll be trying out Emily Griffin’s Something Borrowed

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