December 29, 2010

Photography Contest - Last Chance

Well, folks... I'm still amazed the year has gone by so quickly. There are only 2 more days left of December and then we enter 2011. You know what that also means... yes, the photography contest is ending!

I've received some beautiful entries thus far and I'm looking forward to seeing what comes in at the last minute. You are free to submit as many photos as you like before midnight on December 31, 2010! (Ok, and I won't turn you away if you happen to get your entry in at 12:01 am on January 1, 2011! :-)).

Remember, there is no entry fee and you could win a free blog makeover (for Blogger) from and a free photo frame from!

Click on the banner below to read the rules and enter your photos!

Photo Contest Banner

December 16, 2010

For only a dollar...

I'm sure most of you are familiar with Sense & Sensibility Patterns. If you do not follow their website frequently, however, you may not know about their Dollar Downloads, which are downloads of period articles on fashion, etc. that are actually from the era. There are a lot of early 1900's and 1940's-50's available. These would be very interesting for anyone who loves historical fashion, especially for use in research if you are making an authentic gown. Each one is only a dollar! Check it out!

P.S. Like historical sewing and old fashioned things? Check out this new blog (and leave her a comment!): A Lass of Yesteryear

December 11, 2010

Photography Contest... Last Weeks!

Photo Contest Banner

Time is running out for the Maidens of Virtue Photography Contest! The deadline for entries is December 31, 2010... that's less than 3 weeks away! You can enter as many photos as you wish for more chances to win our great prizes! Click on the banner above to visit the contest page.

Please pass this on to your friends!

November 8, 2010

Movie Review: The Runner from Ravenshead

The Runner from RavensheadI just had the opportunity to watch The Runner from Ravenshead, a feature film by Little Crew Studios from the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. The movie won the Audience Choice award and was runner up for both Best Feature and Best of Festival.

This film features an all-child cast, ages 9 down to 2, and there are only 5 kids in it. I have to admit, I wasn't expecting much. This was the family's first attempt at film-making, and besides, how good could a bunch of kids be at acting?

Well... was I in for a surprise. The movie was FANTASTIC! It was extremely well done, well acted, and well written. The storyline is similar to Pilgrim's Progress. Sam has escaped from Ravenshead Prison and is running away from her warden, but no matter how fast she runs or how she tries to outwit him, he is always right behind her. Meanwhile, the City of Refuge Guide Service has run out of trained guides to help escaped prisoners reach the City of Refuge, so they send their cleaning boy, Henry, to help Sam.

The movie is humorous and endearing. Henry runs into all sorts of trouble and had me rolling on the floor. The youngest two kids are absolutely adorable. All of them are wonderful actors especially considering their age. I wish I could act that good. :-)

The filming quality was great and very professional and there were some great stunts involved too. All the sets were perfect - all kids' size! There are also several scenes where the same actor will be playing different roles and talking to himself, or where there is a crowd of people, but it's all the same 5 kids. Very impressive!

The music was phenomenal; they hired a professional orchestra to play the soundtrack and it lends a lot to the movie.

This film gets a 5-star rating from me - there wasn't anything I didn't like about it! Great for the whole family - if you're looking for a good, clean, wholesome Christian film, this is it! You can watch the trailer and buy the DVD at Vision Forum.

October 22, 2010

Pretty Please...

I'm very sorry for posting another advertisement-style post, but I'd like to ask for your help. I've entered a toddler's bedtime story contest, and in order to win the contest, I need to get people to vote on my story. In short, I am trying to catch up to some people with over 2,000 votes (haha, I know... well, I can at least try). So I'm asking that if you read this, you would take a second to vote. AND if you are really nice, you'll come back and vote multiple times - you are allowed to vote once every day! All you have to do is visit the link below and click the "vote" button. I'd also appreciate it if you would share this with your friends and/or family if you think of it. Thank you! :-)

(End of commercial).

October 20, 2010

Communication Crisis?

Communication crisis
Lately I have been thinking about the developments in technology and how it's changing the way we communicate. I'm not on Facebook and I don't intend to get on, but pretty much everyone I know IS on Facebook. People joke about how they are "addicted" to it... but I wonder if they ever really think about whether that is true or not. Facebook (and Twitter) is accessible 24/7 now with its availability on phones. Some people will update their statuses all the time with trivial information. A friend of mine was saying how she had blocked so many people on her Facebook because she just didn't need to know that they have smelly feet or that they ate pizza for dinner. A while back my mom announced she was deleting her Facebook account, and she got a message from a friend who said, "But... how will you communicate?? This is how people talk now."

It is a delightful Autumn day today... the sun is shining brightly, and the air is crisp with the scent of falling leaves. Every year I am reminded how much I love fall! I think I may love it a teensy bit more than spring. I have been very (very, very, very times 10) bad about posting here and haven't posted any really meaty posts in a while. So here's an attempt... :-)

Is it? What happened to picking up the phone, or writing a letter? Or better yet, having someone over for lunch just to be together and chat? I don't mean to say that Facebook and Twitter are inherently evil or wrong. They're not. But if it becomes such a priority in your life that you can't imagine what you would do without it, and you must be able to check it everywhere, all the time, something's not right there. Texting is right up there with FB and Twitter. All these avenues of "convenient" communication teach us to disregard basic rules of communication, like spelling (wht's sp nywy?). :-)

And another thing about texting, and social networking on phones. It's distracting. Both for the user and the people they are around. Apparently nobody realizes anymore that it's rude to be in the middle of a conversation with someone, and suddenly whip out your phone, and start typing away, acting as if you are ignoring your companion (whether you are really listening or not is not the point). The other person feels as though you don't care to talk to them, and you are just too caught up in checking your texts to listen and hold a conversation.

Some of my friends tell me, "You should get a Facebook! I can keep up with my friends so much better on Facebook!" Hmmm. I'm not so sure that Facebook really helps you keep up with your friends. After all, there isn't much that's personal about Facebook. You type what you are currently doing at the moment in that little box, hit "share" and it's visible to everyone that calls themselves your "friend" in the FB world (and that could be hundreds of people!). Of course, it is still fun... why else is half the world on Facebook? One reason I'm NOT on it, is I know I would like it too much!

It seems like there is a lot more worldliness in Christian circles than there used to be. Conversations revolve around secular topics - movies, sports, and politics. I have a feeling this is related to Facebook... teaching us to value the things that don't really matter. We don't talk about what's going on in each other's lives anymore. We just talk about little nothings, hardly any different that what we talked about the last time we saw each other! And again, I don't have a problem necessarily with talking about movies or politics... but when it seems like that is ALL you talk about, there's a problem.

This is an introductory post to a series of posts I would like to do about writing letters... why we should and how we should, maybe with some fun tutorials thrown in as well. Make sure to come back!

October 15, 2010

Joyfully At Home... The Book

Joyfully at HomeI just found out today that Jasmine Baucham's new book, Joyfully At Home is now available from Vision Forum! If you are not familiar with Jasmine, she has a blog with the same title as the book, where she writes encouraging articles for young women. If you have not visited her blog before, I highly recommend that you hop over there and read the archives!

At any rate, I have not yet read the book, but if it is anything like her other writings it promises to be a great blessing! Lord willing, I will post a review of the book at a later date after I have read it. :-) For now, grab a copy for yourself!

October 5, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Clafoutis

Doesn't this look divine? This was the recipe we made for Cross Country Bakers last month. It's a French dessert made with apple custard-like filling. Mmmmm... I thought it was about time I posted a recipe for you all, so try this one out for your next dessert (or have it for breakfast like we did!). Enjoy!

Apple Cinnamon Clafoutis


* About 3 or 4 apples
* 2 large eggs + 1 yolk
* 1/2 cup blond cane sugar
* 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
* 3 Tbsp. all purpose flour
* 1 cup whole milk, cold
* 1 vanilla, seeds removed (I didn't have vanilla seeds so I used 1 tsp. vanilla)
* 1/2 cup heavy cream
* ground cinnamon


* Preheat your oven at 350ºF.
* Peel the apples and cut into cubes or slices whatever you feel is best for the oven dish you are using (I used ramekins)
* Beat the eggs and yolk with the sugar.
* Add the vanilla seeds and mix.
* Dilute the cornstarch in the cold milk.
* Add the flour and cornstarch to the previous preparation, with the cream. Mix well until homogeneous. Add ground cinnamon to your liking.
* Grease small ramekins (or a larger dish) and sprinkle with sugar. Remove the excess.
* Divide the apples  between them and pour the cream over.
* Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and place in the oven for 40 to 45 min, until golden. Remove. Eat warm or cold.

Original recipe from Jungle Frog Cooking.

September 20, 2010

New Contest Sponsor: Fracture

FractureI am thrilled that we have a new prize added to our photography contest, generously donated by our new sponsor, Fracture! If you haven't heard of Fracture before, you need to check it out. It's a neat new way to "frame" your photos. You upload your photo, choose a frame (or no frame) and Fracture actually prints your photo ON GLASS. My mom got one of my sister and me and the quality is amazing. The colors are so vivid, it looks as vibrant as when you view the picture on your computer!

Fracture is awarding a free photo print in the size of your choice to the winner of the photography contest! How exciting is that? Start entering now! :-)

September 18, 2010

Photography Contest Reminder!

I know, you all just *love* my reminder posts. But, it's been a while since I have mentioned the photography contest I have going on at the main Maidens of Virtue site! It is hard to believe that what started out as "all year left" is now only just over 3 months left in the contest!

We've also finally announced the beginnings of our prize list! In addition to your photo being featured on Maidens of Virtue, the first place winner will be receiving a full Blogger site design from!

I'll continue to post updates as we go along... but time is quickly running out. Remember, you can enter as many photos as you want, at any time. And it's FREE to enter, so what do you have to lose?

September 17, 2010

Vision Forum Sale

I just found out about this... Vision Forum has a brand new look for their website and until the 18th, they are having daily $1 deals on select products, free gifts with certain orders and free shipping! Click the banner below for details:

New VF Website ad

August 12, 2010

Interview with The Joy of Jewelry

The Joy of Jewelry ButtonI had the pleasure of getting to know Joy, a lovely young lady who has recently started up her own jewelry business called The Joy of Jewelry. Her products are just *beautiful* and I am so pleased to be able to interview her! Enjoy the interview and when you're done, hop on over to her website and check out all the scrumptious gems she has to offer!

Kathryn: Can you tell my readers a little about yourself?

Joy: I am going to be turning 21 this year, I am a homeschool graduate and a pastor's daughter. I have done several years of independent studies on Nutrition, and am now attempting to learn to speak (and understand!) Irish Gaelige.

Kathryn: When did you start designing jewelry and why?

Joy: My sister and I always loved making dress-up jewelry when we were younger, and as I got older I began to buy some beads that were a little more 'grown up' than the plastic O's we used to string on thick, stretchy white string. I also read 'The American Girl's Handybook' that was in publication during the early 1900s, and became fascinated with the 'language' of flowers and colors. When I found a list of different colors and their significance in the Bible, that clinched my interest! I love the idea that we can be reminded of different truths, revealed to us through Scripture, by our jewelry.

Kathryn: How did you get the idea to start a business making jewelry?

Joy: When I was 16, one of the ladies we knew payed me to make two necklaces for her daughter's birthday and left the design up to me. Since then I have had many people tell me that I should sell my jewelry, and as I got older and saw the lack of really beautiful and sturdy (affordable) jewelry, I began to think that perhaps I might be able to do it after all. But it wasn't until a mutual friend introduced me to you - who offered to design a template for me in exchange for some jewelry - that I actually believed that it would ever happen.

Kathryn: What are your goals for your business?

Joy: My goals for my business are to glorify God as I create and sell jewelry, and to bless ladies across the country with beautiful reminders of purity and other truth.

Kathryn: You design each piece intentionally with certain colors or beads to represent things. How do you get your ideas?

Joy: I was fascinated when I discovered that there was an official 'language' to colors and flowers, and when I discovered a website that had a list of colors and their significance in the Bible, I couldn't resist incorporating different color combinations into my jewelry.
I get inspired by period films, nature, and modern fashion, and my jewelry is an attempt to combine the finer styles with purity and beauty.
As far as the truths that are represented by my jewelry, they are convictions and conclusions that I have come to as I read the Bible and learn more about Jesus. I try to give a little glimpse into my inspiration for each jewelry collection on my website.

Kathryn: What are your most popular pieces?

Joy: It would be difficult to pick the most popular piece because different ones appeal to different people. The Purity for Life pieces have been very popular - with many people commenting particularly on the delicacy of the chain that I use for the Exquisite Chain and Crystal Necklace and Bracelet - but probably the most popular piece is the Heart and Key Bracelet.

Kathryn: Thank you so much for allowing me to interview you, Joy! Keep up the good work!

As she mentioned in the interview, I designed her website template in exchange for some jewelry. I received the Purity for Eternity Sapphire Crystal Necklace and the Purity for Life Double Stranded Bracelet. I am VERY pleased with both! The quality is excellent and they both fit beautifully. Joy's service was wonderful as well! I am a big Swarovski crystal fan so I love my two pieces! Below are some photos of the pieces I received (click on the picture to go to Joy's website and buy one for yourself!).

The Joy of Jewelry Necklace

The Joy of Jewelry Bracelet
Photos copyright © Kathryn Grace Photography.

August 3, 2010

Feelin' Feminine Jane Austen Tour Miss Jocelyn over at Feelin' Feminine is hosting a fun Jane Austen blog "tour" and giving away some great prizes! As you'll see from that button there, it ends today... so I'm participating rather last minute. Ah well, better late than never, right?! (Click the button to see more details).

The premise of the "tour" is to create a Jane Austen related post(s) on your blog and enter them into one of the several categories listed on Feelin' Feminine. I decided to go with the Digital Art category since that was the easiest for me, being that I am a graphic designer. :-) I created a wallpaper for your desktop, featuring Jane and Elizabeth Bennett (from Pride & Prejudice of course!).

One reason I went with Jane & Lizzy is because everyone seems to focus so much on Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, and everything revolves around them in most graphics, pictures, etc. But one of the things our family most enjoys about Pride & Prejudice is the relationship between the two sisters. They are obviously very close and they are each other's confidantes and - gasp - they actually.... like each other! Which is something of a foreign concept in today's society.

You are welcome to download the wallpaper for your own personal use; I just ask that you respect my copyright of the design and do not sell or distribute it (if you want your friends to have one too, just send them the link to this post). Please comment and let me know if you use it! Unfortunately those were the largest images I could find and so they are a little pixelated - my apologies for that!

How to download: Click on the image. It will open up in a larger size. Right click on it again (Mac users hold Control while clicking) and select "Save Image As..." Save it to your computer and apply as you would any other desktop wallpaper.
(Credit for photos: Eras of Elegance. In addition, images in this graphic are displayed in good faith as a fair use under 17 U.S.C. 107. Any copyright infringement is unintentional, and will be remedied immediately.)
Jane & Lizzy Desktop Wallpaper
Designed by

July 13, 2010

2010 Essay Contest Results!

I apologize for not getting the results of the essay contest up here! I've been busy and haven't had time yet. Below are the winners, runners up and excerpts from their essays (links included to continue reading the complete essay). Congratulations to all the winners and runners up!

9-13 Age Group Winner: Miss Johanna W.

9-13 Age Group 1st Runner Up: Miss Carrie A.
9-13 Age Group 2nd Runner Up: Miss Robyn G.

14-25 Age Group Winner: Miss Rachel D.

14-25 Age Group 1st Runner Up: Miss Ginelle V.
14-25 Age Group 2nd Runner Up: Miss Kayla H.

Representing Christ - 9-13 Category Winner

By Johanna W.

True Modesty is not found in a man made set of rules, regulations or guidelines, but springs forth in a heart living for Christ. 1 Peter 3:3-4 says~ “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.”

In the absence of biblical convictions, most people find them selves going the way of culture. This is true even in the realm of modesty. Most young woman these days think that beauty is found in the most revealing outfit, or the latest fashion—the way of culture. But the bible says that true beauty is found in a gentle, quiet, or in other words; a modest spirit. Modesty is like a tree, rooted in purity, branching forth in many aspects of our lives. A few of these branches include the way we dress and the way we act.

Our Dress represents our heart. If we dress ourselves in immodest clothes, we are displaying an impure heart. But if we dress in modest apparel then we reveal a virtuous heart.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says~ “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body...”

Honor God with your body! We need to glorify God in every thing we do, including the way we dress. Dressing modestly not only represents Christ, but~ you, your family, your parents and your Christian community.

Continue reading this essay.

A Remedy - 14-25 Category Winner

By Rachel D.

During the 20th century there was a wide spread plague. Few people were left unaffected by this infection and the consequences have been devastating. This epidemic caused society as a whole to exchange the old-fashioned practice of modesty for the stylish concept that revealing your body is glamorous. Our generation’s loss of modesty is only an outward symptom of this gruesome disease, which is a grievous lack of purity, chastity, humility, and self-control, to name a few. As people have rejected the biblical standard accepted by our fore-fathers, they have lost all the blessings and rewards of the righteous. With lust, immorality, and selfishness having long been planted in the hearts of a nation, the harvest is to continue bringing dissatisfied hearts, broken lives, and ruined relationships. Long have we been reaping these consequences already. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap.”

Famously, the Good Samaritan once undertook an immense challenge to reach a wounded man. He “bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine.” In the same way, young women today have the enviable opportunity to reach a wounded world. By recapturing God’s sacred design for us as young women, we can have a resonating impact on the degenerating lives around us. Knowingly, God designed ladies to guard their bodies and heart, to be elegant and dignified, and to showcase femininity. Modesty of spirit and expression are oil and wine that the dying can little afford to be without.

Summer is staring at the side walk time. As soon as June rolls around, it seems as though skimpiness is the new dress code. Not to say that there aren’t ample representatives of this popular style all through the year. Today, ladies treat their bodies with little respect, all the while claiming to have won themselves honor by breaking free from societies “sexist restrictions”. Showing parts of the body intended to be kept private and sacred sadly demeans an individual. Why trade mystery and dignity for cheap, momentary attention from dishonorable men?

Continue reading this essay.

The Value of Modesty - 14-25 Category Runner Up

By Ginelle V.

What is modesty? According to the Merriam-Webster Online dictionary, modesty is, among other things, “propriety in dress, speech or conduct.” Nowadays when we discuss modesty, it is usually in relation to what one wears. In fact, the only time we discuss modesty at all is in relation to how immodest our society has become. Does anyone even really know what modesty looks like anymore? How can we possibly know true modesty in our ever changing world?

The only way we can truly know the right standard of modesty is by looking at the place where the standard never changes: God’s word. There are a few verses that show exactly what God thinks of modesty and of those who are immodest. For example, Proverbs 11:22 says, “As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discression.” As unflattering as this verse is, it presents an undeniable truth: no matter how beautiful a woman is, she loses the respect of those around her when she dresses herself immodestly.

Continue reading this essay.

A State of Being - 14-25 Category Runner Up

By Kayla H.

Click. Eye contact. (I smile.) Eyes go down. And back up again. She walks away. Such is the scenario which plays over and over again in my day-to-day life – at the grocery store, at the fairground, at the post office. Yes, I am wearing a long skirt and a loosely-fitting shirt. It’s an outfit which I consider cute, but definitely not “normal” by worldly standards. I stick out – almost as much as a sore thumb – but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Nearly every individual on planet Earth makes an important decision each morning. No, it’s not what to eat for breakfast. The decision I’m referring to is what to wear. Most individuals do not realize the weight this decision holds. They conclude within the recesses of their hearts and minds, "It simply depends on my preferences. At the end of the day, no one else cares; what I wear only affects me." However, the Bible sings a different tune.

Continue reading this essay.

The Service of Modesty - 9-13 Category Runner Up

By Carrie A.

What is modesty?

It’s many things. It’s why we don’t walk around without clothes on. We all have jobs and duties in this world, a loyalty to others and to the Father.

The same way that we should keep the world clean and the water pure we should keep our souls clean and our body’s pure.

Have you ever gone by a park, small road or town that has trash lying around and looks like no one cares about its appearance? When you walk out of the house in an outfit that EVERYONE at school is wearing but your dad would freak if he saw you in, you are demonstrating that you don’t care how others feel. Immodesty is a selfish act.

Continue reading this essay.

What is Modesty? - 9-13 Category Runner Up

By Robyn G.

What Is Modesty?

The Greek word for modesty is “adios” that literary means bashfulness, reverence and shamefacedness. Today in this day and age many woman are not shamefaced about their modesty. They do not cover themselves like the bible commands us to in 1 Timothy 2:9 says, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.” KJV There you have it! God commands us to be modest and not to think about the way we look unless we are making sure we are modest.

Continue reading this essay.
Click HERE to view complete contest results

Congrats, everyone! See you next year!

June 25, 2010

Essay Contest Prizes!

Well, we have less than a week left until our Essay Contest is closed to entries! I'd encourage you to check it out and write an essay (and enter it of course!). It's always good to push yourself to write and you never know - you just might win and receive a really wonderful bundle of goodies!

I thought I'd detail the prize list here with descriptions and pictures (where I have them!).

The first person to contribute to our prize was Amelia's Aprons. Amelia's Aprons has supported our contests in the past and was so kind to do so again! The 9-13 year old category winner will be receiving the Amish Apron Pattern, which is an adorable pinafore style apron - very cute and very practical! Perfect for using to be a "prairie girl" or just for wearing around the house to keep your clothes tidy. The 14-25 age group winner will receive the Ruffles & Curves Apron Pattern; another super cute style with a curved hem and ruffles! (surprise!). Both patterns come with a child's size, adult size and a doll size, so you can make some for all the ladies in your family!

Next up is a Sense & Sensibility ePattern! I have the Afternoon Dress pictured here, but you will receive the ePattern of your choice. Sense & Sensibility is a widely recognized and respected pattern company for historical gowns. If you visit their website, you can see dozens of beautiful gowns made from the patterns (and get ideas for making your own dress!). The ePatterns are printable PDF versions of the pattern that you print and then tape together. It is perhaps more work than a regular pattern, but you have the advantage of being able to download it instantly (no waiting for it to ship!) and you will have it on your computer if you lose a piece or need to make it again in a different size.

Photobucket Photobucket
Our third contributor is Roses and Teacups, one of my favorite online stores! And guess what they have given to our prize... yep, a lovely china teacup for each category!

Seasons at HomeSeasons at Home is a lovely magazine for keepers at home, filled with tasty recipes, craft projects and encouraging articles. They have graciously donated one issue to each winner! The subjects covered in this issue are: Flowers of Virtue, Stitching Old Fashioned Flowers, Summer Rag Quilting, Little Ladies Victorian Tea, Make a Hope Chest (Father project), Whole Grain Flat Breads, Ice Cream Cones and Pasta! This is a beautiful magazine and after you get this sampling you just might want to subscribe. :-)

***Here's where it gets different. I have two completely different prizes for the different categories:***

The younger group will get a knitting kit for making mittens! It includes yarn in a fun variegated purple and green yarn, knitting needles, and of course, instructions. Knitting is such a fun and practical skill to learn - you can easily make gifts, things for around the home or to put in your hope chest! (photo to come!)

The older category will be receiving a beautiful pair of earrings from The Joy of Jewelry. The Joy of Jewelry is a new business that creates gorgeous handmade Swarovski crystal jewelry (I admit I have a weakness for Swarovski crystals!). I have a necklace and bracelet from them and they are both high quality and look great! These lovely little droplets are from their "Passionate Purity" collection and are hand crafted from gold-plated surgical steel, deep red Swarovski crystals, and Grade A Swarovski pearls. You'll love them. :-) The winner will have a choice of pierced or clip-on earrings.

So now... doesn't it make you want to enter?! It makes me want to... but it would hardly do to enter my own contest. So head on over to read the rules and get writing! You have till June 30, 2010, to enter!

June 21, 2010

Tell Me... Uh, Monday - My Harp!

Last Wordless Wednesday I posted this photo:

Harp Strings

I meant to post my Tell Me Thursday about it on Thursday like I was supposed to, but didn't have time. So it's coming late... on Monday.

Those of you who have read my blog for a while know I play the harp and I have been saving for my own bigger harp. Well, a little over a week ago I had a wonderful surprise. Back in March, I was able to order the harp, but the company was backed up on orders and told me it would be 6 months before it would be done. So I was prepared to wait till September to get my harp, and I was praying hard for patience (and at the same time praying that somehow it could be finished earlier - say, August).

Well, the Lord loves to answer prayers and He answered that one far beyond my hopes. A week or so ago I was working on a sewing project in the basement, and I heard a lot of screwing, banging around, and general racket going on upstairs. I, however, was deeply engrossed in making a ribbon flower, and absently thought my mom and sister must be hanging pictures (which would be very odd and besides, there was far too much noise to be only picture-hanging. But you must understand, ribbon flowers take a lot of focus).

Well, my mom called me to come up and "let the cat in." When I came up, Mom had a video camera in her hand. That meant something was up! I still was clueless and had no idea... I walked into the family room and there... was... I'm sure you can never guess. :-) Yep, my harp!!


Isn't she a beauty? It sounds beautiful and I LOVE the deep, full bass notes. It's been so much fun playing through all my old songs and hearing how much fuller they sound! Once again, a huge thank you to my friend, Raeanne, who let me play her little harp for nearly two years while I waited for this one... it was an immense blessing.

The Lord is good!

June 16, 2010

May 6, 2010

The Essay Contest! Finally!

Yes, today I finally got things up and running for the 2010 essay contest! Our subject is one that, surprisingly, I haven't covered yet in any of my contests. It's a popular and controversial one, so we should get a lot of good entries. Want to know what it is? You'll have to check the website and see!

Now, I got over 30 votes on my poll about what kind of contest to do (figures, it was tied again, so I had to pick myself!). So I'm expecting at least half that number in entries... just for your information. :-) Hey - it's free to enter, it will challenge you to write, and if you win, we have some great prizes as usual! (more on that later).

Ready? Here's the link - happy writing!

May 5, 2010

Cover Your Hair Giveaway

Miss R.J. at is having her very first blog giveaway from Cover Your Hair! CYH carries cute hats, scarves, headbands, and more hair accessories. I personally like the berets and headbands with tails!

Check out THIS LINK and find out how to be entered to win a free headband!


P.S. I just realized it is May and I still haven't announced any details on this year's writing contest. I can tell you one thing - I am thinking it will be another essay contest. I know many of you wanted a poetry contest, but here are my reasons: I am just better at writing essays myself, and feel I can judge it more fairly. I prefer rhyming poetry, which is not fair to those who write free verse. So... I promise, there WILL be a writing contest some time this year. :-) Thanks for your patience!

April 16, 2010


I apologize if you tried to visit my blog or website the last 2 days and got a "This account has been suspended" notice. Somebody hacked my site and started sending out spam, and thus everything was shut down while we resolved it. Thanks for your patience!

March 19, 2010

Contest Update

I just realized that it is March and this is usually the time of year that I host either a poetry or essay contest (did you vote on which one it should be? If you didn't, click here to do so - but please don't vote again if you already did). Life has just gotten in the way and I have not had time to organize details for that right now. I will (Lord willing) try to have the contest in April sometime, so be looking out for news on that!

In the meantime, check out the photography contest that is going right now!

February 23, 2010

IHF Photo Contest

I'm entering another i heart faces photography contest! This time the theme is hands... Here is a photo I took a few years ago. I really didn't know hardly anything about photography, and yet it still remains one of my favorite photos. You can read the story below.

Bird in Hand

I had received my own camera for my 16th birthday, and we were out one weekend just doing yardwork, burning brush, etc. and I had my camera on me, as usual. I was out in the yard, and my mom was up on the deck off the back of the house, when she started calling me to come up and bring my camera. This little bird, which we later identified as a Ruby Crowned Kinglet, must have flown into the window and was laying on the deck, stunned. I took a few shots and then mom put on her gloves and picked it up. It didn't seem nervous or anything, but just sat there, and I got this wonderful photo. After that it fluttered off and landed on my sister's shirt and camped out there for a while. :-) Apparently it wasn't too badly injured because later it left. I love looking at this picture because of that memory and just because I like the photo - I like how the lighting came out, and the gray tones. When I decided to enter this one in the contest I tried editing it with Photoshop, and it looked nice... but I decided to go with the original photo after all.

February 10, 2010

Review: My Favorite CDs

I love music. I really do! I love playing it and I love listening to it. My sister is even more of a listener than I am probably. We get in the car and we're not even out of the garage before she's asking, "Can you turn on the music?"

Today I thought I would share with you some of my favorite collections of music to listen to. Ready? Here we go!

The Baroque Harp

This is a perfectly lovely CD by Judy Loman, a master harpist. If you saw my last post, you will know that my musical love is the harp. This CD has a marvelous selection of music, ranging from bright and cheerful to slow and soothing. I would listen to this every day, but my sister gets tired of it (she's not as crazy about harp as I am :-) ). You can click on the album image there to buy the mp3 download of the album and you can also listen to samples! I just love the clear tones of the harp (some harp recordings sound tinny - not this one). Highly recommended and completely worth listening to!

What Wondrous Love

Unfortunately I do not have an image for this one. This is a beeeeautiful CD of hymns by the Eden String Quartet, a quartet made up of 4 sisters. Their music is truly uplifting. You turn it on and it really feels like you are being picked up and carried away. The music features the strings and a variety of other instruments play along on some songs, including penny whistle, guitar, and flute.

String Serenades

I got this CD from my dad. It's kind of special, because it has all the string serenades that we heard when he took just me out for a concert and dinner. This is more "intense" music than the two previous CDs but it is beautiful as well. It includes string serenades by Tchaikovsky, Elgar, and Dvorak, which are the three we heard at the concert, as well as two others by Vaughan-Williams and Suk. All of them are very pretty. You might think a serenade would be all very quiet, soothing music, but this CD has it's share of fast and, as I mentioned, intense music.

Music for Solo Harp

Please bear with me as I add one more harp CD. I only have two... so in the future, maybe you can expect to see more harp CD recommendations. :-) This is another fine collection of harp music. This one has more subdued selections, I would say, but certainly no less beautiful. I can only hope someday I will be able to play some of these pieces!

February 4, 2010

Tell Me Thursday - Harp Heaven

Lyon & Healy Harp Showroom

I posted this photo yesterday for Wordless Wednesday. Amazing isn't it? It's not everyday you get to see a whole room FULL of harps.

Last weekend some friends of ours whom we had not seen in 3 years came up for a visit! Hannah, the older of the two, is an amazing harpist. I'd love to call myself a harpist - perhaps I can - but I have only been playing just over a year and am teaching myself. I have a small 27-string lever harp, which you can see to the right there. I am borrowing it from my incredibly generous friend, Raeanne, who is letting me use it until I can save up for my own harp.

Anyway, back to our guests. Friday morning we somewhat spontaneously decided to make the trip up to visit the Lyon & Healy harp factory. What a place! Perhaps it's just that I am in love with harp that made it so wonderful, but this place is amazing. We toured the factory and got to see how the harps are made. Did you know it takes about a year to complete a harp?! Now I know why they are so painfully expensive. :-)

After touring the factory (no photography allowed - sorry!), we were taken to the harp showroom, which was my WW photo this week. Dozens of harps all lined up in every size, color and kind. We were given a "salesperson" and a little room to the side, and any of the harps we wanted to play, they would wheel in for us! And we could play as long as we wished (it was a good thing we got hungry for lunch or we would have been there a really long time! :-) ).

Hannah requested to play a pedal harp designed by Carlos Salzedo, a modern harpist. This is not my favorite harp from L & H for its looks, but of course I wasn't going to NOT play it! The sound was just amazing and as you see from the pictures, it is HUGE, especially compared to what I am used to playing!
Playing the Salzedo Harp

If you are wondering the difference between a lever and pedal harp, lever harps have - guess - levers on them, which allow you to play your notes sharp or flat. Pedal harps use - surprise - pedals to play flats and sharps, and you work them with your feet which frees your hands. You can play more complex music on a pedal harp, and they are much larger with more strings (concert grands - what I am playing in the photo - have 47 strings).
Below is a photo of my favorite harp. I would probably have to save up my whole life to buy this, but it was amazing to play it even if just for a while!

Lyon & Healy Style 85 Harp

The harp I am currently saving for is a 36 string lever harp from Harps of Praise. Below is a picture of it:
Want to help me get my harp? Of course you do! :-) If your blog needs a fresh look or maybe you are just starting a blog...or maybe you just need a signature to end your posts or a button; head over to Or you can check out the Maidens of Virtue Shoppe. You can know you are helping the harp fund. :-)
Thanks for visiting!

February 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Harp Heaven

Lyon & Healy Harp Showroom
Come back tomorrow to read the Tell Me Thursday for this photo!

January 9, 2010

Photography Contest!

Photo Contest Banner

All right, here's the information on the photography contest I'm hosting! It's going to be open to entries all year - that leaves you plenty of time to take LOTS of photos (you can enter as many as you want at whatever time during the year!).

This contest is open to all ages, and there is only one category, as I think that children are quite as capable of taking photos that can compete with adults.

The theme for this contest is one word: Pure. I wish I could enter this contest myself because I've been thinking of all the different ways this word can be portrayed in photographs! Be creative and use your imagination; think outside the box and come up with as many different ways to apply "Pure" to a photo subject.

Entries will be judged on photo quality, composition, lighting, and originality of interpreting the theme.

We will award one First Place winner, and several runners up. First Place prize information is forthcoming.

You may enter as many photos as you want, at any time during the year (so you could enter photos as you take them, or save them and submit them all at the end). You will only be eligible to win one physical prize, though multiple photos of yours may be awarded runner up.

This contest is FREE to enter; we would, however, appreciate a small donation to go toward the first place prize (this is not required to be entered in the contest). You can make your donation at the contest page.

We will be accepting entries through December 31, 2010 and the winner and finalists will be announced January 15, 2011.

Please visit the contest page HERE to read full details that are not included in this post!

I am counting on lots of fabulous entries!

Want to put that banner on your blog? Grab this code:

Note: Image will be deleted when contest is over.

i heart faces contest

I am entering a photography contest over at i heart faces, hoping to win a free Tamron lens!! The likelyhood of that happening is very slim, since there are some fabulous professional photographers entering, but at least I can say I tried, right? In order to be entered, I have to post these pictures here on my blog. Here goes...
Photo #1:
This is my lovely sister playing her new panflute outside by our pond (how romantic, isn't it?). This is a beautiful instrument with a pipe for each note.

Photo #2:
This is a little kitten we rescued, named Eppie. We named her after Eppie in "Silas Marner" because she was black (if you know the story, Eppie has to go in the coal shed as punishment for disobeying - hence the black part). She has flattened ears ready to pounce in this photo (I love it when cats do that)!

I am submitting these photos into the I Heart Faces logo photo contest. By entering, I am granting I Heart Faces LLC permission to consider my photos for use in the marketing and promotion of their website.

P.S. This is not the photo contest I mentioned before - more on that coming soon!

January 5, 2010

Contest coming soon...

Keep your eyes peeled for some news on a photography contest I'll be having! I'm getting all the details organized and I'll post here when everything is set to go. You can also check the home site, Maidens of Virtue, where I will post the full details.

I've been thinking I should do a photography contest because it seems like photography is very popular right now; at least I seem to be running into a LOT of people who are interested in it.

Feel free to comment and let me know if you think this is a good idea and if you would be entering! (By the way, all you writers out there - this is not to replace the poetry/essay contest I hold in the spring. This is a separate contest and I will still be holding the writing contest, Lord willing. Cast your vote if it should be an essay or poetry contest here).