Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Book Review - The Sweetest Thing by Elizabeth Musser

When I chose this book, I admit I thought the soft colored cover and promises of 1930's Atlanta sounded too good to pass up. What I didn't expect was a story about a girl who loses her father and the full gamut of emotions she and her family go through to right their upside down world. Having lost my father not quite five years ago I spent most of this book crying. And I'm crying even remembering it as I type this which is why I put off writing this for so long. It was hard for me to read, yet I didn't want to stop reading. In fact I think there may have been a little divine intervention in my choosing of this book because now that I'm finished with it, I think I needed to read it.

Anne "Perri" Singleton, despite The Depression lives a good life, goes to an excellent girl's school and even had 1,000 "dates" in a single year (dates are not quite the same in this world as they are in ours). The day she meets Mary "Dobbs" Dillard she thinks they'll never be more than acquaintances. Dobbs is unfashionable, poor, and speaks about faith as if it was as natural as breathing. But when Perri's father suddenly dies and mysterious circumstances lead to more questions than answers, Perri and Dobbs form a deep bond.

While Perri's life is tipped end over teakettle, so is Dobbs' life completely different from what she knew and both girls fight very emotional struggles finding the balance between self and fitting in.

I loved that Perri was into photography - because so am I. She was also into sky watching for a bit, and so am I. I also really enjoyed the feel of the era and place, despite the dire circumstances. Some of Musser's descriptive areas reminded me a tad of Sarah Addison Allen which endeared this book to me as well.

Yes, there is plenty of heartache, but there is also romantic love, true, deep friendship, following your dreams and a grand scale mystery to boot.

Does it help all that talk about crying if I tell you it has a satisfying conclusion?

Bethany House provided this book for the purposes of review. The opinions are entirely mine.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mosaic Monday - a new view

When I house-sit I always warn the homeowners that I'll likely be taking photos all over the place. To date, none have minded and are usually curious to see what I'm so interested in photographing. Plants of course. :)

I can't recall the name of the plant, but doesn't it look like an alien daisy?

And leaves is the other. I'm loving the way this red maple lights up at certain hours of the day.

The setting sun always lights up this tree.

Be sure to visit Little Red House to see all the beautiful mosaics!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Clean cup! Move down!

I don't get to participate this year due to my house-sitting duties but do go over and visit Vanessa and see the loveliness going on there. Also, be sure to visit her guest of honor's blog as well - delectable treats that will delight the eyes. Click here to go down the rabbit hole...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Couponing for the "extras"

 Here's where I admit to watching that "Extreme Couponing" show. I admire the savings especially for the ones who have large families and small incomes, but 20 toothbrushes? Just...why? Once you've stockpiled things shouldn't you...you know...stop? At least for a while? Anyway.

When I want an "extra" - something I don't need to live - I contrive a way for it to cost me little so I don't feel so guilty buying it.

While I'm house-sitting I've been happily browsing coupons and store websites and finally broke down to get a couple of store rewards cards (Walgreens and Fred Meyer).
Did you know you can load coupons to your store's rewards card? It's like coupons without the paper cuts. I did that with things I needed (and erm...didn't) and made my shopping list and went for it.

Haircolor. My root growout is making me crazy. And I swear my hair gets darker every year so the contrast is that much worse. This new foam stuff (this will be my first time trying it*) is normally $9.99. There was an in-store sale marking it down to $7.49. And I had loaded a $3.00 off coupon to my rewards card to get it for just $4.49.

I'm thiiiiiiiis close to being out of mascara and old mascara is certainly not something I want to be putting near my eye. This mascara was $7.49 (honestly it was just one of the cheapest I could find by CoverGirl) I had a $1.00 off manufacturer's coupon and the store was having a BOGO 1/2 off. The mascara being now just $6.49 and the lip gloss/tint went from $7.49 to $3.74.

The color is "Grenache"

I think this is possibly a clever way to re-package CoverGirl's old solid glosses which are around $4.00 anyway, but I'm a sucker for lip tints and this smells amazing!

I did also use my coupon-ing skills to buy necessary items like...coffee.

*I have since used it. The foam does not come out creamy and white like it shows on the box, so don't be alarmed by that. Also, it - to me - has an odd savory sesame smell. I have long, thick hair and it took the entire bottle of this to saturate my hair and I was only doing half my head. If you have thin or short hair however, I think this would work great.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Flowers for Rose

I had a different post scheduled for today but I received word that my dear sweet neighbor has gone home to be with Jesus. I thought I'd share some photos of her spaces. She graciously invited me to her yard as her flowers and burst into bloom so I could take photos - knowing I loved it so.

The images in these posts are much smaller than my current ones but if you simply click one they will enlarge for you.

Her beautiful back porch flowers are here.

Her beautiful front yard is here.

The rest of her yard here.

Rest in peace, wonderful lady.

And prayers for her husband would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

In the land of the unfamiliar

Still house-sitting. I've actually done this for several people over the last couple of years and it is a challenge to constantly learn where the silverware drawer is or how to operate the TV, DVD, VHS, DVR, etc. when you've lived in 4 different houses in a year.

Also try being 5'2" and living in the house of people around 6'0" - the microwave is literally above my head. I have to stand on tippy toes to get my plate/cup out. And the washer and dryer knobs are at my eye level. I have to stand on tippy toes to turn them on.

The worst though? Being used to driving an old orange pickup in the country but then coming out of a very in-town store to a full parking lot full of small cars that look exactly like the one you drove there and you can't remember what the make/model is of the car or where you parked. And what was the color again? Too bad whistling for it like a lost puppy doesn't work.

At least they have me well stocked on books and movies! More on that later!

Don't worry, I'm really not suffering, it's just a challenge at times. :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

To the man who encouraged me

To say I'm a daddy's girl is quite true - inheriting my looks (we share the same blue eyes) and personality (love of corny jokes) from his side of my genetics.

Dad and I. Just a few years ago. ;)

He was never the man who said I couldn't. In fact he was more frequently pushing me and saying I could. No matter what it was. Come on, you can hike up one more hill! Yes that's really me on the left. Gasp away! ;)

My dad started his own business and even had to build the location. The family chipped in of course.
Yep that's me on the roller. Guess who put me up to that? Mostly against my will. Let me tell you that is not a smooth ride. I've never driven one before? Psh! You can learn!

To that you can attitude and entrepreneurial inspiration I can credit the success of my own business venture. So thanks for all the encouragement dad.

To steal a bit I've seen floating around on facebook: 

If red roses grow in Heaven, Lord pick a bunch for me 
Place them in my Dad's arms and tell him they're from me 
Tell him that I love and miss him, and when he turns to smile, 
place a kiss upon his cheek and hold him for a while
Because remembering him is easy, I do it everyday 
There's an ache within my heart that will never go away..I love you!

Happy Father's Day.

And thank you also to my wonderful stand-ins Mario, Dick, and George. ♥

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Transition week - strawberries and books and movies, oh my.

My mom bought me a gift the other day - she found this lonesome beauty at a thrift store - isn't it lovely?

I'm house-sitting  for some friends while they go to a wedding in England and there's been a lot of this:

These strawberries have such sweet flavor!

And after driving my friends to the airport yesterday I am busy trying to catch up on blog business after being "offline" a few days.

And since the Mr. friend was gifted the entire Horatio Hornblower movie series right before he left I get to enjoy them while they are gone. I already own them but on VHS so I don't have all the fun features these came with. If you haven't seen the films I highly recommend them.

Oh yes. And I'm taking the opportunity - since the weather is crummy - to try and link my blog and shop visually. If things keep changing, I apologize for the inconsistency but I sometimes have to change things around a lot until I'm happy. For the time being. ;)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

You can find me in the garden

Summer finally arrived and my herb garden is looking lovely - thank goodness! I've been really working on it for over a year.

My rusty bucket is filled with snapdragons that I rescued from the oddest little spot where they popped up. They were going to get stomped where they were and now they seem to be thriving in their new home.

Flowers, flowers everywhere! These are Dame's Rocket - which is apparently a noxious weed in some areas. It came in a wildflower seed mix I planted years ago. They spread like crazy so I understand the "weed" part (I feel the same way about Calendulas).

I actually moved all the ones growing on my property this this spot here and pulled the rest. I've been able to contain and maintain them this way and things don't get out of hand. The Calendulas however...

 In my grape arbor (which can be seen in this post) is a two-seat chair with table in the middle that my uncle made. It's the perfectly shady spot to relax after some hard work.

Thank goodness there are two seats to this! I'm sure she'll claim she's just keeping my seat warm for me. ;)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Office organization solutions from my barn

I'll blame Donna and her amazing junked office space.
Then I'll blame my pen holder. I hated it. Hated it so much I don't even have a "before" photo. It was too big, too tall, too varied in size from bottom to top. Okay it was a painted terra cotta pot. They are great for many things and holding pens isn't one of them.

However, this little bucket works just great. AND it goes with my rustic farmhouse style office. The floors are hardwood original to the house. The ceiling...

Is also wood!

The walls are the same green as a copper patina.

When I realized how badly I needed desktop file storage, and how awesome Donna's was, and how I had two plant hangers that were one step from the thrift store if I couldn't find a spot for them, and how they perfectly go with the green walls...

And why does every store suddenly do away with pretty file folders when I go to do this project?

So those two were what started this whole thing. Like the pen holder, I didn't take a single before photo of my office makeover because honestly...even if I had...I wouldn't have shown you. It was that bad. Clutter like you wouldn't believe!

With these two free storage solutions I still needed a little more to help out. This wooden crate I found in my barn.

A vacuuming, wipe down and newspaper in the bottom and it holds phone books, catalogues, and paperwork waiting to be filed. The wire basket was also a find and holds mail waiting to be sorted.

 With no clutter all over the desk it's amazing how neat things look.

I'm also working on making a new mouse pad because I absolutely hate this one.
The computer wallpaper is a photo I took at The Oregon Garden.

Because you see the back of the computer - and therefore all the wires - when you walk into the office, I used an old window shutter to hide the mess.

I can also use the slots between each of the shutter's blinds to hold photos and notes.

The closet had sliding doors and it was impossible to get anything of size in or out. These curtains (hemmed pieces of un-bleached muslin) were actually made for another door one house ago so they are getting repurposed here to hide the amazing way I stacked a ton of stuff into this closet. Putting them on clip rings that slide means it opens quickly and easily.

I love these old staplers. Especially that one in front.

I also love the old, wooden office chair. However, it is both too short for this desk and doggone hard on the backside so some cushions - the top in a lively gingham - make it cushy and farmhouse chic.

There are still a few areas here that need serious work and I am still lacking shelving or bookcases but I have some ideas for that...involving the wood from the corral that had to be torn down...

Linking to:

The Shabby Nest

Finding Fabulous

Funky Junk Interiors

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Headband storage

I have a candle sconce above my nightstand. I actually took the candles out thinking I'd come up with something more clever to put in there. And so far...nothing. However, I took off a headband the other day and set it there for "a minute."

I don't know about you but it's working for me. ;)
And yes that is a tree branch on my wall to the right.

If you want to see a REAL headband storage solution go visit Jill at Made it on Monday.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Featured and Won - good start to my week

My manly java jacket project is featured in this issue of Savvy Kids magazine - what a great publication! I'm delighted to be able to share the tutorial with young crafters.

I also won the J.R. Watkins EnviroDay photo contest on twitter with the photo below.

I won a basket of J.R. Watkins goodies - which I love!

Hurray for a terrific start to the week!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mosaic Monday - The Oregon Garden

I recently got to spend my weekend at The Oregon Garden Resort with a friend. We had spa treatments, delicious dinner and local wine and, of course, a walk in the garden after our departure day breakfast.

 As my friend said, "I could get used to having a delicious buffet breakfast prepared for me and then an hour's walk in the garden."

To find out more about The Oregon Garden click here. There's more about the resort portion of the garden here.

Be sure to visit Little Red House to see all the beautiful mosaics!