Monday, October 11, 2010

Bookseller's Best Award

This past spring I had the opportunity to be a judge for the 2010 Booksellers Best Award, sponsored by Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America. I read four books from the Long Historical category; If He's Sinful by Hannah Howell, All He Desires by Anthea Lawson, Darcy's Passion and Darcy's Temptation by Regina Jeffers. The winner of the Best Long Historical category was Hannah Howell's If He's Wicked. The winning book is from the same series as the one I had read. I'm happy to have found a new author, and have now read all three from this series, including If He's Wild. I did enjoy all four books that I read, so if you are looking for a good romance novel I can recommend any of them.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I'm Back!

I've been gone for awhile, but I'm back now. I've got lots to share with you - some scrapbooking, some reading, and some new cats.

I'll start today with a card that I made recently. I love how elegant it turned out. Tim's Mom, Sue, died in August and I made these thank you cards for all the wonderful support we received from our friends, family and co-workers. It's been hard for Tim, but he has been awed by all of the thoughts and prayers - so thank you.
The card base is a Kraft, layered with Pumpkin Pie, and Naturals Ivory cut with the Top Note die. Sue loved hummingbirds, so the Elements of Style SU stamp sent was perfect stamped in Soft Suede. I added a Bashful Blue scallop and satin ribbon for contrast and accent.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

A Day at the Races

On Saturday Tim raced the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek up in Wilksboro, and I went along as pit crew. It was an absolutely beautiful day. I lounged around under the pop up tent - no sunburn Mom. He had a decent race for his first one of the season.

As I was waiting for Tim to finish his laps, I read. I was able to start and finish The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey. It was a fabulous book. I just had to keep turning the pages. I'm going to discuss it with the Manic Mommies Book Club and the author on April 21.

Pit crews don't just get to read during the race. My responsibility was to feed Tim as he came in for his laps. I made cookies (not from scratch), egg salad and a wonderful Waldorf Salad that you must try. I found the recipe on Never Enough Time. A chopped apple, chopped celery, walnuts and cranberries with a little mayo to hold it all together. YUM.

Just a perfect day spent outside together - each of us doing what we enjoy. We both came home dirty and tired.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Saga of the Aprons

On Saturday I got to spend the day scrapping. I had a wonderful day with my friends, but I didn't get much in the way of scrapping done. I did spend most of the day on this layout - The Saga of the Aprons. One of the challenges on SCS recently was to use fabric on a layout, so you'll see some fabric ruffles on each page that use the same fabric as the aprons.
The base of the layout is SU Very Vanilla. The center piece is Bermuda Bay, the photos are mounted on Real Red and the journaling box and title are on Soft Sky. I used the new SU flower punch for the accent flowers and also used Regal Rose paper, and I added a Basic Black center to some of the flowers to pull the black from the fabric. Tucked in behind the first page are the adorable thank you letters my niece and nephew sent me. They are accessible with Soft Sky tabs that I punched with the SU tab punch. The two pieces of pattern paper are from My Mind's Eye Sun Kissed "Only Smiles" Flower Girl Paper. Around the edges of each page I stamped a zigzag stitch in black with a stamp from the Hero Arts Ribbons set. The title is a combination of handwriting and stamping on a couple of K & Company Wild Saffron die cut tags, and a chipboard letter A.
The journaling reads: In 2008 I found this pretty fabric and apron pattern and had plans to make aprons for the girls and their American Girls dolls, and some fun John Deere fabric for Matthew. But I forgot that I really don't sew. So the aprons never got made. So for 2009 I sent everything to my friend Diana M. in New Hampshire and she made beautiful aprons and a sweet little bear for Matthew. Matthew and Hannah wrote sweet thank you notes.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mailbox Monday - March 15

I spent the last week suffering from a sinus infection and so I didn't get much reading done. But I did get a bunch of wonderful books in the mail that I can't wait to get started on.

My first package was from the Romance Writers of America and it was 4 historical romances. For several years I have been part of the judging for the Booksellers Best Award. After I read the books and send in my scores I'll let you know more about them.

The next new book to come in my house was one I actually bought from the library's Friends of the Library ongoing book sale. I bought Marshmallows for Breakfastby Dorothy Koomson. I did start it but then my sinus infection took over and I've put it aside.

Then Lisa at Books on the Brain and Random House sent me a copy of American Rust by Philip Meyer.

The last package on my doorstep last week was from Book Club Girl and it was a hardback copy of Brava Valentine by Adrianna Trigiani. This one is moving up Mt. To-Be-Read so that I can participate when Ms. Trigiani is on Blog Talk Radio on March 31st. She's a hoot, so I encourage you to listen in.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Mailbox Monday - March 8

I'm really excited to have some new books coming into my home in the next few weeks. I've been in a bit of a reading funk recently, so I think seeing packages in my mailbox will help.

The first book I want to mention today, Fireworks Over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff, is one that I received a month or so ago from Library Thing. So I am terribly behind in getting my review posted. I have to say that Mr. Stepakoff did a wonderful job writing about a young southern woman. The beginning of the book skips around to various different times and characters, but the main character is Lily. Lily is a young southern woman who gets married right before her husband ships of to WWII. She comes from a wealthy family and has had an easy life. Right before her husband returns she meets a young fireworks expert and has to make a decision about how to live the rest of her life. It's a great story. Some of the early set up parts were unnecessary and the author tended to explain Lily's character rather than show us. But it was well worth the Sunday afternoon I spent with it.

The next package I want to share with you if really going to benefit my book club here at the library. Random House sent me a copy of Shanghai Girls by Lisa See and a package of chocolate. I all ready have a copy of the book, so I'll share both the book and the chocolates with my group.

The last thing I received in my mailbox last week was a copy of How to Knit a Love Song by Rachael Herron which came from Book Club Girl. Ms. Herron also has a knitting blog if you'd like to check it out. The author will be joining Book Club Girl on Air on Blog Talk Radio on March 17 at 7pm. These author interviews are always fun to listen to, and I can't wait to hear this discussion. I really enjoyed this book. Abigail is the main character and she runs into a bit of luck when her friend and mentor Eliza dies. Eliza leaves her a house, a yarn store, and a husband. But Abigail doesn't see it all right away. My only complaint was that Cade was a little loose and easy - if you know what I mean.

I hope to have some more news books to share with you next week.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Graduation '09

Here is the layout I made of Dylan's high school graduation. I used SU Going Gray as my background. I found a blue pattern paper with the word "Graduation"on it and I used a strip of that going across both pages. Down the sides of each page I used a great silver, grey and black diamond pattern paper with some silver swirls. I added some stars in Real Red, Summer Sun and Brilliant Blue. I also added a blue tassel embellishment.

Friday, February 19, 2010

January Reading

I had a good reading month in January.

Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. Flavia is a young girl who finds a dead body in the family's garden. She is a very smart girl and decides to solve the mystery of who the man is and how he died and who did it. She actually does a good job of figuring it out - she doesn't figure it out perfectly, but neither do the police. Comparable to The Elegance of the Hedgehog, but more readable. Also the same feeling as I Capture the Castle.

The Little Giant of Aberdeen Count by Tiffany Baker. Truely has a medical condition that causes her to grow abnormally large. Her mother dies in childbirth and her father later dies of alcoholism. Her beautiful sister Serena June is raised by the pastors wife and Truely is raised by one of the poorest families in town - outcasts like she is. The town is filled with good people - Amelia and Marcus, and bad people - Bob Morgan who marries Serena June. Very well written with interesting characters.

La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith. A stand alone novel. Very nice story set in England mostly during the second world war. La is a young woman fresh out of college when she experiences marriage, widowhood, and the war. She is stuck in a place where she wants to have a job and do more to make a difference and a time when women didn't have much opportunity or encouragement. During the war she starts a small village orchestra, and that orchestra gives people hope for the future. McCall Smith is a very subtle writer. His works are very pastoral in tone but not meaning. Interesting characters and a good sense of the time and place. Like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

A Matter of Class by Mary Balough. A short romance novel, with no extra characters. The story moved along. Reginald Mason and his neighbor Lady Annabelle are forced to wed by their fathers for their transgressions. The flashbacks give foreshadowing of the twist at the end.

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. This was for my library book club. We had a wonderful discussion. It's a beautifully written book. How one woman and one village deal with the plague.

When the Duke Returns and An Affair Before Christmas by Eloisa James. Numbers 4 and 2 in the Desperate Duchess series. The later books in the series are better than the earlier ones.

Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe by Jennie Shortridge. Mira's marriage is falling apart so she just runs away from it all - her family, friends and job. She ends up in Seattle and just happens to find a job in a coffee shop - called Center of the Universe -and a cheap apartment over the shop. Things just happen too easily. Mira supposedly finds herself, but to me it didn't seem like it. It was disappointing that in the end, nothing seemed to change.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wild About You Valentine

I don't know how it happened, but I do not have a heart punch! I had this great idea for a card, but no heart punch. My solution was to use a Making Memories foam heart stamp. I stamped in SU Real Red on Whisper White paper and then cut them out. Problem solved. But I think I need to buy a heart punch.
The base of the card was made with SU Cool Caribbean. The pattern papers are Making Memories Cow and Cheetah and an unknown tiger print. I used SU's Modern Label punch on Kraft cardstock for the greeting. And the greeting is from the SU stamp set Wild About You.
I hope you had a nice Valentines Day.
We are such a romantic couple. My gift from Tim was the installation of new spark plugs and air filter in my Subaru, and he got one of these cute cards from me.

Monday, January 25, 2010

B is for Baby and Birthday

Tim and I had a baby shower on Sunday afternoon. This is the card I made. I CASED a card from DawnW1 on Splitcoast Stampers, but I changed the colors. I used SU Pumpkin Pie, Regal Rose and Whisper White, and the pattern paper is from the Designer Series Paper pack Sweet Always. I used the Just B stamp set. I also used a flower punch to make the flowers and a white gel pen and some brown ribbon for embellishment. While I was sitting at the table I also made a couple of extra cards for some little girls birthdays. It felt good to sit down and make cards, so I came home and started on some thank you cards for the mother to be.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wild About Baby Brother

These adorable picture are from 2003 when my nephew Matthew was a new born. Big sister Hannah just loved her baby brother. Baby Matthew had the wildest, stick up hair. He was so cute. Actually, he still is cute.
I used SU products for this page. The base is Taken with Teal. I also used Rose Red, Certainly Celery and Apricot Appeal and Whisper White. I used the stamp set Wild About You to make the pattern paper and to cut out the animal accents.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


We are experiencing the coldest weekend of the year here in NC, and our HVAC system has died. Our house was built in 1930, so it is charming but not very tight against the weather. The old HVAC system is about 15 years old, and we've been expecting it to go for several years. And this is the year. We have a new, much more efficient, unit on order and hopefully it will be installed on Tuesday. Meanwhile, we started on a project that we've been wanting to do ever since we moved into the house. There are two fireplaces in the house, and both have been bricked in. So yesterday we took a sledge hammer to the one in the living room. It only took a few hours, and now we have an open fireplace that is ready for gas logs. We went window shopping and have a set of logs picked out. Riley and Tarzan are very curious about this new big hole in the living room. And white cats and sooty old fireplaces aren't a good mix.

I have been doing some reading, curled up in bed with the electric blanket at the cats. I read and really enjoyedThe Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker. I recommend this one, it's got an interesting story and wonderful characters. Now I'm reading La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith. This is a stand alone novel, and not part of any of his series of books. I've just started and anxious to see how it is.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

New Years Resolutions

2010 is here. If I were a good blogger, I'd have New Year's resolutions and post them here. But I don't have any New Year's Resolutions. My mother might suggest that updating my blog in a timely manner might make a good resolution. Other resolutions might be read more, scrapbook more, knit more, and keep a clean house. But I shall fail at all of those, so I won't even make them resolutions. But, if you promise to keep checking my blog, I promise to try and read more and scrapbook more and update my blog more often.