Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book Review - Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs

I was very excited when this book was in my list of review options since it's historical fiction. If you've read some of my previous book reviews you know this is one of my favorite genres.

As I started reading, I was slightly disappointed. I could NOT get into this book! The chapters are each only a few pages long and after just one chapter I'd put the book down and walk away. I never do that! Honestly, I can't quite figure out what my problem was with the book. It was a decent story, just not captivating. When I finally got interested in the book (at the very end) and kept reading and reading to find out what happened to a specific character, he went away and the author never says what happened to him! There is a sequel to this book called "Mine is the Night", however, I don't think I want to read through it with the sheer hope that she brings the character back.

Here is the summary from the back of the book:

"Lady Elisabeth Kerr is a keeper of secrets. A Highlander by birth and a Lowlander by marriage, she honors the auld ways, even as doubts and fears stir deep within her.
Her husband, Lord Donald, has secrets of his own, well hidden from the household, yet whispered among the town gossips.
His mother, the dowager Lady Marjory, hides gold beneath her floor and guilt inside her heart. Though her two abiding passions are maintaining her place in society and coddling her grown sons, Marjory's many regrets, buried in Greyfriars Churchyard, continue to plague her.
One by one the Kerr family secrets begin to surface, even as bonny Prince Charlie and his rebel army ride into Edinburgh in September 1745, intent on capturing the crown.
A timeless story of love and betrayal, loss and redemption, flickering against the vivid backdrop of eighteenth-century Scotland, Here Burns My Candle illuminates the dark side of human nature, even as hope, the brightest of tapers, lights the way home."

An excerpt from the book can be found HERE.

If you decide to read this, let me know what you thought!

As a reminder, I was given this book for free from the WaterBrook Multnomah "Blogging for Books" program. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tutorial: Two-Sided Loofah Soap

Here are instructions for a fun soap making project to do at home. It's a two-sided loofah soap! Scrubby on one side, smooth on the other. Supplies you'll need:

  1. white soap base

  2. clear soap base

  3. loofah

  4. a mold that will fit your loofah

  5. fragrance oil

  6. color

  7. rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle

Measure the height of your mold and use a sharp knife to cut your loofah so it's half the size. My mold is 1 1/4" high so I cut my loofah to 5/8". Be careful not to cut your fingers! I got my loofah from Sahara's Supplies. Cut up and measure out enough clear soap base to fill half your mold. (You can purchase cheap melt and pour soap base at most craft stores but if you'd like a quality base I suggest finding a source online) My mold holds 6 ounces so I needed 3 ounces of soap for this step. Melt the soap in your microwave (about 30 seconds should do the trick) and mix in your fragrance oil. I used 1/4 tsp of Raspberry fragrance, also from Sahara's Supplies. Place your loofah in your mold and pour the melted soap on top of it. Spritz with the rubbing alcohol to remove any bubbles that may have formed. Allow this to cool for approximately 15 minutes. The soap will need to be hard enough to pour another layer on top without melting it. This next step is the same as the previous step, but using our white base. I chose to add some color to mine. I used "chameleon" mica from Sahara's Supplies. The picture doesn't do it justice but this is an amazing red with silver mixed into it.

Need a tip on mixing mica so it blends properly? I add the mica to my fragrance oil first. Mix well and then add a bit of the soap base. Mix well again before adding the rest of the base.

Now you're ready to pour the melted soap base on top of the first layer but first, spritz a bit of the rubbing alcohol onto the first layer to help them adhere. Allow the soap to cool completely. After it has cooled, you're ready to remove it from the mold. Congratulations! Now you're ready to hop in the shower with your fun new soap! If you make this project let me know how it goes!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

4th Annual Autism Awareness Fundraiser

For the 4th year in a row I will be donating 50% of all Puzzle Soap sales to the Autism Society of America. Please help support this cause! This fundraiser will last the entire month of April.