Wednesday, March 31, 2010

{an absence so great}

An Absence So Great
by Jane Kirkpatrick

While growing in confidence as a photographer, eighteen-year-old Jessie Ann Gaebele’s personal life is at a crossroads. Hoping she’s put an unfortunate romantic longing behind her as “water under the bridge,” she exiles herself to Milwaukee to operate photographic studios for those owners who have fallen ill with mercury poisoning.

Jessie gains footing in her dream to one day operate her own studio and soon finds herself in other Midwest towns, pursuing her profession. But even a job she loves can’t keep painful memories from seeping into her heart when the shadows of a forbidden love threaten to darken the portrait of her life.
:: learn more ::
{my thoughts}
An Absence So Great was a very interesting read - the author uses stories from her own family to weave Jessie's tale. I found the details of photography before color film, digital cameras, Photoshop and the like to be fairly fascinating. The book even includes real photos and the "stories" behind them {I found myself hoping for the next photo to come along so I could see what it'd be about!}.
My only problem with this book is that it's actually the second, a follow up for A Flickering Light. Although I made it through the book and figured out the story, it would have been easier if I'd read the first book, well, first. Now I plan on reading A Flickering Light to catch anything I'd missed.
Overall a great book, but you might want to start at the beginning - I hear it's a very good place to start. :)
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

{floral fun}

I do believe that Spring may have least here in the Sunshine State!
I crave sunshine, really. Growing up in Florida didn't leave me a lot of tolerance for cold.

And I looove flowers. They're beautiful, unique, colorful, and just so fun.

I would wear this with a pair of jean capris for a fun day out!

A day at the beach, perhaps?

Of course, I love anything yellow.

Looove this dress! Mint + Floral = Happy. :)

This necklace would be beautiful - perhaps to dress up a date night outfit?

Now I want to run out and add a bunch of florals to my wardrobe!

All pictures from the Old Navy and Target websites.


The winner of Liz Curtis Higgs latest book is Katy from The Country Blossom - congrats!

Be sure to enter to win a necklace from Lisa Leonard Designs!

Monday, March 29, 2010

{Lisa Leonard Designs} + a giveaway!

:: closed ::

Have you taken a peek at Lisa Leonard's beautiful jewelry? Trust me, there is no way you could be disappointed. The pieces you'll find there are gorgeous, simplistic in the best way, and even personalized.

When Lisa emailed me about her jewelry, I seriously about fell over.
Me? Little old me?

Picking just one piece was {almost} agonizing. I went through Lisa's entire site about 4 times. I said "well, this one is fabulous, but what about this one?"

There are just SO many lovely choices.

But I finally settled on a necklace.

Because sometimes, I just need that simple reminder.
you are loved.
It's perfectly simple, and amazingly sweet.

You can see all of Lisa's beautiful jewelry on her site. She also blogs right here {you'll probably love it as much as I do!}.

Lisa has ever-so-generously offered to send one of you your very own 'you are loved' necklace!

To enter, please visit Lisa's site and choose your favorite piece. Come back here and leave a comment telling me about it. {mandatory entry} Please leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.

For a 2nd entry, follow Lisa on Twitter. Leave a {seperate} comment with your Twitter username.

For a 3rd entry, blog, tweet, spread the word about the giveaway {be sure to link to this post}.

This giveaway will end next Monday, April 5th. I will announce the winner here, so be sure to check back!

**Lisa sent me a necklace, but I was not reimbursed monetarily**

Friday, March 26, 2010

color love {grey}

this color suggested by Manda - thanks!


dupioni velvet

illusion ring

if you have a color you'd like to see featured in an upcoming {color love} post, please email me
thesweetestpetunia {at} gmail {dot} com

Thursday, March 25, 2010

{catching up}

First of all, many thanks to everyone who recommended a camera!
I think I may go with a point + shoot for now, but I have to have one that takes decent pictures.
I'll have to do some more looking, and I'll definitely look for some of the suggestions.


These next couple days are going to be very busy for me. So I may not be around much. But I have a {color love} post scheduled for tomorrow, and trust me, it's pretty. You'll want to see it. :)


For now, I'm going to go make myself some coffee.
And then I get to do a bunch of cleaning.
Figure out exactly what I'm doing for the classes I'll teach tomorrow.
Go to a piano lesson.
Run errands.


Sometimes it would definitely be nice to have a little extra help.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

{the internet}

There are lots of things I like about the internet.
Emailing can be so convenient {although I love snail mail}.
Blogging {of course} is high on my list.
Free photo-editing tools like Picnik.

But one of my favorite things?

I can request almost any book from my library without actually having to talk to a librarian.

That's a big one for me. Because I am very shy {believe it or not}, and I never go ask the librarians about books. I think I've done it once.

What's your favorite thing about the internet?


Don't forget, you could win a copy of Liz Curtis Higgs' latest book, Here Burns My Candle, right here! The giveaway will end 3/30.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

{Here Burns My Candle} + a giveaway!

A mother who cannot face her future.

A daughter who cannot escape her past.

Here Burns My Candle
by Liz Curtis Higgs

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 illumines the dark side of human nature, even as hope, the brightest of tapers, lights the way home.

{my thoughts}
I thoroughly enjoyed Here Burns My Candle. And no, I'm not just saying that.
The words are beautifully written, aptly portraying the struggles of the characters. Set during the time of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite uprising, it speaks of the trial of choosing sides, sending loved ones to war, and being outcast by choices made. It tells of love and faithfulness in the face of hurt and disloyalty. It shows the sacrifices made to protect those you love. Though there is much sadness in the life of the Kerrs, there is also the glimmer of hope.
I would reccomend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, or just appreciates a good story.

Would you like to read this book?
Leave a comment telling me why this story interests you, and you'll be entered to win a copy of Here Burns My Candle.

Extra entries if you are a follower of The Sweetest Petunia, or if you tweet/blog about the giveaway!
{leave seperate comments for each entry}

I will randomly choose a winner and announce it next Tuesday morning. Please leave your email address so I can contact you!

{US only, please}

Two copies of this book were provided for review + giveaway by WaterBrook Multnomah.

Monday, March 22, 2010

{needing camera}

I am currently {badly} in need of a camera.

{okay, maybe not quite like those, but it's fun to look at.}

If I had a camera, I could show you some things I've made here lately.
I could show you a beautiful necklace I recieved last week.
The petite roses I came home to on Friday.

I usually just borrow my sister's camera. But her connector cord is somehow missing. So even though I took some pictures, I have no way of showing them to you.

Yes, I need a camera.
Any suggestions?

Happy Monday, everyone!
What are your plans for the day?

Friday, March 19, 2010

color love {robin's egg blue}

This {color love} post suggested by Mandy.

{robin's egg blue}

If you would like to suggest a color for an upcoming {color love} post, please email me:
thesweetestpetunia {at} gmail {dot} com

Thursday, March 18, 2010

{good morning}

This week has been rough.
And in all honesty...
Not without it's share of pain, sadness and tears.

But this morning I am happy.

I have the house to myself, an {extremely} rare occurence.
I'm sipping coffee from an aqua mug, and it's putting a smile on my face.
I'm letting myself be soothed by beautiful piano music.

Yes, soon life will return to the daily grind, including chores, errands, and a full house.
But for now I will enjoy the solitude.

Because if I want to be happy, I need to choose to be happy.

Here's to a good morning...

Monday, March 15, 2010

{ announcements }

Just a few announcements for this Monday morning...

I stink at volleyball. That's all there is to it.
I wish I could look cool and send the ball flying over the net with ease.
It would help if I weren't afraid of being hit by the volleyball.
And if I didn't bruise my wrist when I serve.

Uno is more my kind of game. :)

The lucky winner of the FABulous apron from Lima Bean Designs is...

#87 - Yanick


If you didn't win, stick around.
More fun is coming to The Sweetest Petunia very soon. :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

color love {kelly green}

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, coming up on Wednesday...

{ kelly green }

If you have a {color love} suggestion, I'd love to hear about it. Email me:
thesweetestpetunia {at} gmail {dot} com

Thursday, March 11, 2010

{little dress}

I made this dress for a special 5 year old...who is now almost 6.
I didn't use a pattern.
I kind of just guessed.
And crossed my fingers, hoping it would work out.

Well, I think it did.

I Made It Blog Party

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

{wednesday morning coffee}

This Wednesday morning is finding me tired. Really tired.
It's only the middle of the week, but I'm ready for it to be over.

Yesterday, my friend and I went out for coffee.
We talked life + family drama + love + weddings.
It was good. :)

Do you need a coffee break every once in a while?
{or maybe a lot!}
Well, go brew yourself a cup, and let's chat.

I'll start.
What's your middle name?
{for some reason, I love knowing middle names}
Favorite color?
What would you order if you went to Starbucks right now?
What is your least favorite chore?
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Even virtual coffee breaks can be relaxing, right?

**Be sure to enter the Lima Bean Designs giveaway! The apron up for grabs is just fabulous.**

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

{fantasy reads}

Do you enjoy reading fiction that features an epic story of a hero’s journey? {I know I do!} Then you will probably enjoy both of these fantasy fiction titles:

Raven's Ladder
by Jeffrey Overstreet
Following the beacon of Auralia’s colors and the footsteps of a mysterious dream-creature, King Cal-raven has discovered a destination for his weary crowd of refugees. It’s a city only imagined in legendary tales. And it gives him hope to establish New Abascar.

But when Cal-raven is waylaid by fortune hunters, his people become vulnerable to a danger more powerful than the prowling beastmen––House Bel Amica. In this oceanside kingdom of wealth, enchantment, and beauty, deceitful Seers are all too eager to ensnare House Abascar’s wandering throng.

Even worse, the Bel Amicans have discovered Auralia’s colors, and are twisting a language of faith into a lie of corruption and control.

If there is any hope for the people of Abascar, it lies in the courage of Cyndere, daughter of Bel Amica’s queen; the strength of Jordam the beastman; and the fiery gifts of the ale boy, who is devising a rescue for prisoners of the savage Cent Regus beastmen.

As his faith suffers one devastating blow after another, Cal-raven’s journey is a perilous climb from despair to a faint gleam of hope––the vision he sees in Auralia’s colors.
learn more...
{my thoughts}
This book is the third in a series that begins with Auralia's Colors and continues with Cyndere's Midnight. That being said, I can definitely see the value of starting at the beginning of the series. I enjoyed Raven's Ladder, in a way, but I did find it a little confusing - it would have been an easier read if I had know the background of the story.
Even though I found myself a tad lost sometimes, I really enjoyed Jeffrey Overstreet's style of writing. He's very descriptive {you can easily imagine things being described}, and I found his words beautiful to read. I've already placed requests for Auralia's Colors and Cyndere's Midnight at my library, so I can fully understand the plot.

Lady Carliss and the Waters of Moorue
by Chuck Black
Determined, smart and a master of both the sword and the bow, Lady Carliss has proven herself as a veteran Knight of the Prince. Returning from a mission of aid, Carliss is plunged into adventure once again as she searches for the marauders responsible for kidnapping a friends’ family. Along the way she is reunited with Sir Dalton and discovers that the struggle in her heart is far from over. When Dalton falls to the vicious attack of a mysterious, poisonous creature, Carliss finds herself in a race against time. As Dalton clings perilously to life, she must find the antidote in the distant and strange city of Moorue.

While there, Carliss uncovers the master plot of a powerful Shadow Warrior that will soon overtake the entire Kingdom. Her faith in the Prince and her courage as a knight are tested as she faces evil Shadow Warriors and a swamp full of dreadful creatures. The lives of many, including Dalton’s, depend on Carliss. But she cannot save them all, for time is running out. She faces an impossible choice: save Dalton, or let him die so that others may live.
learn more...

{my thoughts}
I really enjoyed this book. This is not my first encounter with Chuck Black's books; my sisters and I really enjoyed his first series, The Kingdom Series. So I was excited to read his latest writings, and was not disappointed!

Lady Carliss is actually the fourth in the Knights of Arrethtrae series, but I didn't find it confusing to start there. I think these stories are a bit more freestanding, though probably more enjoyed with all of it's companions. This is considered a youth/teen fiction book, so you might enjoy reading it to your older children. I know I enjoyed reading it by myself!

This book is fast-paced (not in a bad way) and entertaining, but it also teaches valuable lessons about serving the King. The characters struggle and fight through their problems, but ultimately depend on the King to help them. The book is also not too long or drawn out - I finished reading it fairly quickly. Altogether, I think it a good read with benefits of learning.

So tell me, how do you feel about fantasy titles? Are these books you'd be interested in?
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Monday, March 8, 2010

{Lima Bean Designs} + a giveaway!

:: Giveaway Closed ::

I am so excited to introduce Kelli and her adorable shop, Lima Bean Designs as the newest feature here on The Sweetest Petunia!

Lima Bean Designs is filled with adorable aprons, so if you like to cook/bake/make, you've come to the right place. :) Stay tuned, you could win your own apron!

I asked Kelli to tell me a little about herself and about her shop:

I'm a Work at Home Mom to my sweet little girl and wife of almost 4 years to my darling husband. I've been blogging for about a year and a half. At first it was just to showcase the inner ramblings of my brain (a journal of sorts)...and mommyhood. It quickly evolved into a place where I could write about my faith in Jesus and how He impacts mine and my family's life on a daily basis. I never expected to have people read and actually keep coming back for more, but I've developed a small, but dedicated group of followers and I love them all. I've often wished I could accomplish the popularity of bigger, well known bloggers, but I know for now, God has me right where He wants me (and my blog). And that place is where size of readership isn't the focus, instead, it's simply proclaiming His name to all who do read. That's not to say faith is all I right about...nor is my blog all about seriousness...I love writing silly/funny stuff too! Oh...and it's chocked full of stuff about my girl as well!

As for the crafting part...I've been sewing for just over a year now. At first I worked on simple little projects...mainly just to learn how to actually work a sewing machine. One day I needed a gift for a friend that literally has everything. I had no clue what to get her. So after racking my brain it occurred to me how handy she was in the kitchen. I decided on an apron, but I didn't want to buy one...I wanted it to be from the heart. So I sat down and sketched a half-apron design for her. It included everything I thought was necessary for culinary success! =) Hence the attached towel! I finished it up and my friend loved it!! It was due to her encouragement that I opened an etsy shop. I'm still learning how to work that end of it, but I've had great success at craft shows and the like. I've now improved the look of my half-aprons, but my new focus is my new full-length design because that's what I was getting a ton of requests for. All of them are fully lined and include pockets and the towel.

And I can personally attest that the aprons are beautiful. Kelli was ever-so-kind enough to send me my own apron, and I just love it. I tend to get a little zealous in the kitchen {mainly when it comes to flour!}, but the apron kept my clothes fully covered! The pocket was perfectly handy to slip my recipe cards into {I'm always losing them, due to our small + very cluttered kitchen}, and the towel? The towel is probably my favorite part! It's perfect to have a towel right at my waist for all the hand-washing that goes on; no searching for something to wipe my hands on! I would definitely recommend Kelli's aprons.


Kelli is giving an absolutely adorable apron to one of you!

{Okay, my computer + Blogger apparently don't like me today...I can't add the pictures to this post now! Urgh. Anyway, it's fabulous, and you can see a picture on Kelli's blog right here.}

Would you like to be the lucky winner?
Here's what you do:

Click on over to Lima Bean Designs and pick your favorite apron {if you can}!
Do this first to be eligible for extra entries.

Extra entries?
**Leave a comment if you follow The Sweetest Petunia.
**Leave a comment if you follow/subscribe to Kelli's blog.
**Help spread the word! Blog, Tweet, etc, and comment with the link (one comment for each thing you do).
**Make a purchase from Lima Bean Designs this week (3 entries!)

Be sure to leave seperate comments for each entry!
Leave your email address in at least one of your comments so I can easily contact the winner!
This giveaway will end next Monday, the 15th, around 8am (est.).

I received an apron to review, but no other kind of compensation. Thanks!

Friday, March 5, 2010

color love {red}

This week's edition of {color love} inspired by Gina.


{perfect for the little one in your life}

{I would certainly be happy to carry around this bag!}

If you have a color you'd like to see in an upcoming {color love} post, please email me:
thesweetestpetunia {at} gmail {dot} com