Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Big 3-0

Hey, 30! That's right. In just over a month, I'll be turning the big 3-0. I've gotten the hint that this makes my parents feel old (insert laughing-with-tears emoji). My husband isn't feeling big feelings about this milestone because he reached it last year, plus birthdays aren't fussed over in his family. My friends are perplexed because most of them thought I was actually 25/26 (woohoo!). And me? Reaching thirty doesn't feel weird to me. Don't get me wrong, I'm jazzed about my birthday, just no more or less than other years.

You won't be seeing any extra fuss or big party pictures from me. Actually, the only plan I've made is to sew something special. For the first thirty days in July, I'll be sewing a new quilt square. The squares (of different styles) might be made into wall hangings, or if I feel really ambitious they'll be made into a special "I'm 30!" quilt on July 31st, just in time for my thirtieth birthday on August 1st. Time will tell on what the final result of this fun little 30 day challenge is :)

It should be fun! Follow along on Instagram (@EliseBurkhead) to see what I'm creating!


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Our First House Project

So much excitement! We have decided to update the kitchen in our home, and I'm pinning kitchen inspiration like mad. The decision was actually a big surprise to both of us because we thought other rooms/projects were more important (especially after we first moved into the house). All year, we've been saving money to tackle our upstairs full bath and paint the outside of our house. All year, we've been talking about options for re-arranging the layout of the bathroom to optimize our space and pricing double vanities. All year, we've been taking note on what local houses we adore and gathering the nerve to ask the owners what paint colors they used.

But at the last minute, we decided the timing wasn't right to do the bathroom or paint our house. The kitchen was driving us CRAZY. And while we couldn't do the full-scale kitchen renovation we wanted to do (tear down a wall to extend the kitchen into our den), we could give it an update.

At first it was a slight frustration that a full-scale kitchen renovation would have to wait y-e-a-r-s until we were able to move Joel's "man cave" to another area of the house. It didn't make sense to lose Joel's den when we don't have another location for him to relax/store his music stuff...I mean, he uses the den daily. DAILY. In time we will either build a new garage with a guest room/man cave in the upstairs, or move Joel's space to the basement if we decide to waterproof/finish it. However, for the time being, we're okay with a smaller kitchen and plan on doing a smaller update versus a full renovation.

Here are our thoughts/plans before pricing out the kitchen update:

- Update all appliances 
- Replace the countertops
- Install a backsplash
- Replace the cabinet hardware
- Extend the upper cabinets all the way to the ceiling
- Update the ceiling by planking it and adding new light fixtures
- Flip the "pantry" into a build-in cabinet area 
- Add electrical to the new build-in with spots for the microwave and coffee station

Looking at the list, it sounds like a full-scale kitchen renovation, but it's not nearly as extensive as we originally wanted to do. Plus, Joel is going to do most of it himself and that will save us money. Also, our fingers are crossed that our home warranty will help cover the costs of the oven and dishwasher. (Our oven is gas and the stove top burners won't light themselves anymore. Our dishwasher is rusting on the inside.)

Here's what our kitchen looked like when we purchased the house in May 2015. The only changes we've made so far are to paint the room a grayish white. 


Friday, June 10, 2016

For Fun

When people ask me what I do for fun, my response varies. What I want to say, but never actually say in response to that question, is this: "What do I do for fun? Collect vintage fabric, or fabric in general, and then organize it into pretty piles and randomly run my hands over the stacks throughout the day. Especially the vintage fabric. It's so soft, and the colors are usually so fun and bold. Oh, how I love fabric."

Maybe this is all kinds of weeeeird. But y'all, this is how I am.

And I love that this is how I am. Hashtag embraceyourself.

(Also, I do other things for fun too! Normal things, revolving less around touching fabric.)


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

What I'm Reading: June

It was really hard for me to get through some of these books. A good fiction book can be devoured in a short time because it involves no application to your life; they're simply entertainment. Spiritual growth and Christian living books took more time out of me than I wanted to give to books because they were quite heavy (but good concept) books. Reading that genre just hasn't been as fun lately. I think it's because I read roughly ten of those type of books last year...and that's a lot in the Christian living genre.

Traces of Guilt by Dee Henderson // I LOVE Dee Henderson novels. She is my favorite mystery author, topping all other authors in both the secular and Christian pools. Her characters are intricate and relate-able, and her mysteries are well-crafted and page turning.

In this new book, Evie Blackwell is an Illinois State Police detective who is working in a test case in soon-to-be launching task force committed to reexamining unsolved crimes across the state. This case leads her to a small town with two cold cases, and working with the local sheriff, she uncovers new leads in each mystery. Without giving away how Henderson resolves the cold cases, I will say that this book spun you in a few different directions before finally landing on an ending. I appreciated that it kept me guessing, but the twists and turns made it a little more difficult to read the book in segments (versus all at once). Overall, I was satisfied with the ending. Although it did set up the reader for a second Evie Blackwell book....which I am fair from complaining about. Another great book from Dee Henderson!

June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore // Any time I pick up a fiction book by a new author, I hold my breath until several chapters in, waiting to see if the words are able to capture my attention and stand up to my lofty expectations on character development. This book was a winner.

The book focuses on twenty-five year old Cassie as she mourns the loss of her grandmother, June. In the midst of her grieving, she receives news that she's the sole beneficiary of a legendary matinee idol (Jack), whose children are none to happy to be left out of their father's will. They show up trying to wrestle the inheritance away from Cassie (shocking!). The mystery starts as both Cassie and Jack's children discover how June and Jack's lives were forever altered by murder, blackmail and betrayal.

I found this book very enjoyable. Toggling between the past in 1955 old school Hollywood and the present, the story unfolded slowly at first, but was full of secrets that made me cling to the pages. I liked how well developed I found the characters to be. All in all, a great summer read!

Sister Eve and the Blue Nun by Lynne Hinton // I didn't realize that this was part of a series of "Sister Eve" books when I picked up this book off the shelf. Sister Eve is a motorcycle-riding nun with an interesting gift for solving mysteries. In this book, she returns to her former home and is confronted with yet another suspicious death - the death of a man researching the 17th century "Blue Nun" (hence the title of the book) and the disappearance of irreplaceable historical documents. I love a good mystery novel; however, I just wasn't able to really get into this storyline. As much as I tried, I couldn't jump on board with the main character, Sister Eve, and the pace of the book seemed slow and the mystery drawn out too long.

Maybe if I had read the first two books, I would feel differently about this third installment? Sometimes authors build a better reader/main character connection in the first book of a series. But then again, I can pick up any Dee Henderson book and connect to the main characters quickly...

Night Driving: A Story of Faith in the Dark by Addie Zierman // In this second memoir, Andie Zierman powerfully explores the gap between our sunny faith fictions and a God who often seems hidden and silent. Having not read her first book, I appreciated that I didn't feel lost or confused in this second book.

So what's it about? At age thirty, Zierman feels nothing, just darkness pressing in. A buzzing silence where God's voice used to be. And then she does something many of us would think is crazy, she loads up her two small children in to a minivan to drive south in one last-ditch effort to find the Light. Zierman's writing style was easy to follow, and I enjoyed the fact that she didn't shy away from the dark place her faith went. She didn't omit the hard parts  in favor of presenting a perfect, shiny fascade. The book ended with hope. So much hope. I highly recommend this book!

Also, that cover? I love how it perfectly represents the book.

Kids' Quest Study Bible // Okay, okay, so I didn't read this Bible in the traditional sense. My seven year old nephew is getting to the reading stage of his childhood and starting to add chapter books to his library book haul. Knowing how much an elementary style Bible was helpful for me, I was hoping this Bible would live up to my lofty expectations in person (and for when I give it to my nephew).

The description calls this Bible a great tool for children who like to ask a lot of questions and are eager to learn more. There are five hundred questions and answers woven throughout the pages (sometimes in cute little cartoons to catch their attention), and it includes kid-friendly introductions to the books of the Bible (perfect to give them some background the book!).

The only downfall is that this Bible is hardcovered, and in that respect, I don't know how long it will hold up in the hands of a rough-and-tumble elementary school boy. All in all, a cute kids' Bible!

Disclaimer: Several of the books in this post were provided to me free of charge in exchange for my honest review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Also, affiliate links used. This means that if you purchase a book via the Amazon links, I'll receive a small percentage. Thank you for supporting Sunday Charm!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Why You Should Sew Your Own Tee

Sewing your own tee might sound like an equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest for you. Or it might inspire seventh grade home-ec flashbacks, complete with questionable fashion choices and bad hair. Like, really bad hair.

But you should take an afternoon to sew your own tee. And here's why: it will put the whole "ethically made" clothing conversation in a fresh light.

If you're speedy on a sewing machine, your tee might take you 45 minutes. If you're a sewing machine newbie, a tee will take longer than an hour, maybe even 1.5 hours (it's okay to sew slow! Better to sew slow and truly learn than to rush through a tee only to feel like it isn't wear-able).

Now imagine the women's clothing section at Target. There are thousands of clothes on the rack, in a hundred different styles (much of which are more complicated than the basic tee you just created). Someone had to sew all those clothes. Or rather, some people had to spin their sewing machines in factories tucked away in foreign countries to create the fashion we buy. Next, think of the great deal you just scored at the mall. Something doesn't add up, right? And just like that, all the arguments for ethically made (or fair trade) purchases and the fashion industry suddenly made 10x more sense.

PS - My favorite t-shirt pattern is the Union St. Tee by Hey June. It's worth every single penny of the price tag. This pattern is easy to follow and has numerous options (scoop neck, v-neck, long-sleeved, short-sleeved, etc).

Patterns pictured: Lane Raglan (there's a short-sleeved option included in the pattern too), Union St. Tee, and the black & white heart tee is a self-drafted tee (actually the first one I ever made!).

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