Content from this blog has moved to www.michellerayburn.com.

2.20.2013

Reality Check: No Exaggeration Here

I know that some people have problems with exaggeration. I'm one of those. It's almost impossible to be a humorist and not exaggerate to some extent. But for an atypical moment today, I caught myself minimizing.

Looking in the mirror, I noted a forest of chin hairs. Bear with me here. There will be a point.

"How in the world does one little chin grow so many hairs overnight?" I asked to no one in particular.

Perhaps you're thinking I was mistaken about minimizing as I just exaggerated about a forest of chin hairs. You haven't seen my chin. However, you may have missed that I minimized something else. One little chin.  Have you seen my chin chins?

Little. Tiny. Petite. Not adjectives anyone has ever used to describe my chins.

What are you minimizing today? Is there something you have done to minimize the hurt you may have caused someone else? Perhaps, as I often have, you have convinced yourself that your words weren't that big of a deal. That your criticism didn't hurt.

Is there something you have rationalized that doesn't reflect how God would want you to act? It isn't too late for a reality check. And it's never too late to try to make amends.

See? I promised I would make a point.


2.07.2013

New Repurposed and Upcycled Blog

I'm trying out a new app that I can use to blog when I'm away from my office. I've discovered a few glitches, but I think I figured it out now. You may have received an email about a post or two that was intended for one of my other blogs. That means, if I have removed the post and placed in on the correct blog by the time you read your e-mail, the link will no longer work.

For example, today, I posted a link to my new blog called The Repurposed and Upcycled life. It's a blog where I ask readers to share their stories of how God has turned trash to treasure in their lives. You'll find Robin's story over at http://repurposedupcycledlife.blogspot.com/2013/02/robin-journey-from-abuse-to-joy.html. Do you have a story to share? I would love to consider it for the blog.

Just drop me an e-mail and include "Story for Repurposed and Upcycled" in the subject line.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Book Review: Soul's Gate by James Rubart

I'm a fan of James Rubart's first book, Rooms, so I was happy to review his second book, Soul's Gate. It's important that readers remember that these books are fantasy, and they ought not to consider the content literally.

Soul's Gate is a book about traveling inside another person's soul and engaging in spiritual warefare. It's about supernatural travel and a spiritual world that I've never considered before. In the book, Reece Roth mentors three others when they gather at a cabin in the mountains of Colorado. Dana, Brandon, and Marcus begin training that is a spiritual journey through their own past, a process of facing their deepest wounds, and a venture into their own souls.

This work of fiction invites the reader to consider what it would be like to be able to enter the souls of others. It isn't about considering whether or not it's supported Biblically. It's fiction. It might be easy to become distracted with an inner debate about whether or not the book is Biblical and miss the point of considering the spiritual battle for our own souls. It does a good job raising awareness of the importance of interceding in prayer, and it battling the forces of darkness. However, although the characters in the book embrace the concept after Reece convinces them there is Biblical support, transportation into the souls of others is not addressed in the Bible.


For me, there was something eerie about the idea. The plot had plenty of suspense and edge of the seat action. From a writing standpoint, it's well done and Rubart does a great job of storytelling. On the other hand, like some other books in the same genre (like Ted Dekker), it felt like the book went too far, pushing beyond simple fiction and delving too much into spiritual fantasy. It opens the door too wide in my opinion for people to consider the book too literally and experiment with something spiritually dangerous. Somehow, I can accept teleporting and time travel, but going inside a soul scares me.



I received my complimentary copy of this book from the Thomas Nelson Book Sneeze program in exchange for my unbiased review.

Free Kindle Books February 7

Free Kindle books today. Be sure to check the price at checkout. They go back to full price in a short time.

Not a Sparrow Falls by Linda Nichols (Bethany House 2010)

Blue Hole Back Home by Joy Jordan-Lake (David C. Cook, 2010)




- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

2.05.2013

Pinterest Project Wrap-Up

I hope you enjoyed the Pinterest Project. I'll continue to post projects from time to time, but this concludes the 31-day experiment. On a longer-term experiment, I have a feeling that even more of what is posted on Pinterest might not work out quite the same in my own kitchen and craft room. I chose to feature things I could either accomplish in a very short time, or things that I had supplies already on hand for. Someday, I'll tackle something bigger! 

So, now back to normal blogging, posting freebies to Kindle books, and on to new things, such as promoting my own brand new book: The Repurposed and Upcycled Life: When God Turns Trash to Treasure

Thanks for letting me experiment on Pinterest along with you!

2.04.2013

The Pinterest Project Day 31: Hash Brown Experiment

I saw on Pinterest that I could make crispy hash browns in my waffle maker. Sounded like something I had to try. This photo on the Chow blog from a post titled "Common Appliances, Uncommon Uses" demonstrates how they ought to turn out.
Emphasis on ought to. 

Mine didn't work quite as well. But first, I have to admit that I'm running short of time at the end of the Pinterest Project and decided to use an experiment I conducted a while back. And I didn't take pictures. So, I want you to close your eyes and imagine my waffle-maker. Now...

Oh, wait, you have your eyes closed, and you can't read the post anymore. Are you there? Anyone? 

For those ignoring my request to close your eyes, here's how mine turned out. I used frozen shredded hash browns. They started turning brown, but that took a really long time. And in order to let them get more brown, I left them in longer. They still didn't look like the picture above. It sounds logical that more time would yield more browning, but this made them a lot more chewy, and they sort of lost their shredded shape and became a lot like chewy mashed potatoes shaped like a waffle. 

So, I did it. Once. And that is the end of the story. A Pinterest fail. 

I haven't tried the waffle iron to cook brownies yet. Perhaps, I give that one try too. Think it will turn out like the picture on the right from Chow?

The Pinterest Project - Final Score
Successes - 22
Fails - 4
Neutral - 5

2.03.2013

The Pinterest Project Day 30: Digital Scrapbooking

I've spent the weekend and a crafting and quilting retreat where I have worked on my scrapbooks. I've been transitioning from traditional scrapbooking with paper and large totes full of supplies. The digital version is very flexible on the outcome, and involves hauling a laptop. How is the outcome flexible? Digital scrapbookers can create a purely digital finished product on a disk. Or, they can print 12x12 (and other sized) pages to slide into a traditional scrapbook. Or, they can order fully bound books from sites such as Shutterfly and Snapfish. 

Digital scrapbookers can choose from a host of programs to design their pages as well. I have chosen to use Photoshop Elements because it offers the most flexibility in design and editing. This means, I have to figure out where to get some cool graphics. 

Pinterest has a heap of links to free graphics. One of the popular pinned sites is Granny Enchanted. The site has free downloads that can be used in designing pages. I follow the owner of the blog to get the most recent posts of free downloads.

Newsletters such as Collect-A-Kit and Scrap Girls offer daily freebies to download and store for future use.

Pinterest is full of page layout ideas, links to scrapbook sites, and more. It's a whole new phase of crafting, and highly addictive for the techie type. I know. Because I am one. And now, I shall go to Pinterest to see if they have a Digital Scrapbookers Anonymous.

2.02.2013

The Pinterest Project Day 29: Organizing a Sewing Area

Pinterest is a place for building envy if you aren't careful. The site is full of home sewing areas to drool over, and wish for. However, I don't have such a space in my home.

This room featured on the blog Sew Many Ways is awesome!
And the Creative Living Blog has this cute little closet turned into a sewing space.
On the day 28 Pinterest Project, I created a case for my iPad keyboard in 30 minutes. This is possible only because I have my space organized and ready to go when I need to sew something quick.

I have converted our old television armoire into a sewing center. I mounted an under-cabinet fluorescent light and mounted it inside. I also recycled an old cutting board and turned it into a pullout shelf for the sewing machine. At the time I made it (a long time ago), I didn't take pictures of my method, but basically, I used pieces of scrap lumber to create a frame on either side (like a groove) that would allow me to pull out the board and slide it back in.
 The cabinet is in the dining room where I can pull open the doors and use the table surface. For big projects, I pull the sewing machine out and do the project on the dining table, but this is awesome for small projects and mending.
Pictures always make something look more cluttered! And that chandelier kind of got in the way. Someday, I'm going to paint the inside white. The doors are dark inside because I experimented before deciding on a faux finish for the outside. I went with the light color for the outside, but never fixed the inside.

In many ways, Pinterest is a dangerous place for wishing we had something we don't. But you can see from my example that adapting and flexing can be very satisfying. If I had a bigger space, I'd probably feel guilty for never having time to use it!


The Pinterest Project Day 28: iPad Keyboard Case in 30 Minutes

I searched Pinterest for a pattern for a case for a bluetooth iPad keyboard. I had been transporting it in the box it came in, just because my purse is a dangerous place for an unprotected electronic device. However, the box is too big to take on my upcoming vacation.

Nothing came up in my search. So I decided I need to create a post. In 30 minutes, because that's all I had between other tasks. That meant I didn't have time to quilt or cut anything from fresh fabric. So, I brainstormed a little about what I already had on hand, and I remembered two older pillow shams put away in a trunk. 

I decided to experiment with the most worn pillow sham so nothing would be wasted if I didn't like it. And I would have more supplies to make a better one in the future.

I figured I could use a piece of the sham, and have leftover.
I began with precise measurements. Ahem. I began by folding the fabric up over the keyboard to get an idea of how much fabric I needed. I allowed enough extra for a flap. Then I cut off the sham (about half of the sham) and hemmed the raw edge.
Hemmed edge.
 I folded down the edge I wanted for a flap. Then, I folded everything in half rights sides together (see photo below).
The fold goes the long way, and at this point, the sham is still full width. Next, I laid the keyboard on top of the folded sham to measure the width. Note my precision. Cough.
I cut off each end, allowing a generous seam allowance. Then, I left everything as it was folded right sides together, and stitched both sides up. I never pin anything, which is one of my greatest sewing pitfalls. Pin if you are smarter than I am.
I double sticthed the edge for better durability.
Since the pillow sham had the extra layer from the pillow pocket, I used that as a place to put a piece of craft foam for extra protection. I wiggled it around to get it where it belonged.
Then, I turned everything right side out, and put the keyboard in, keys facing the foam for protection.

The built in flap provides enough closure, but it could have velcro or a button.
Because I chose the most worn part of the pillow sham, I did have to hand stitch a couple of places where the quilting was coming apart. My plan is to do this with new fabric sometime, but this will get me by on my trip. 

Less than 30 minutes and I was done!

I'm calling this a neutral for the Pinterest Project Score, since there wasn't a pattern on Pinterest and I had to create my own design. Evidence that you can't exactly find everything you need on Pinterest.

The Pinterest Project Score
Successes - 21
Neutrals - 4
Fails - 3



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