Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Blogger Book Club Selection

For August, our little book club read Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn.
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Now I will be honest and tell you that I’ve never read any of Ms. Flynn’s books before.  Generally, I read cozy mysteries because they are quick and easy and no thought is required. 
And while this was a mystery, it was not at all cozy or easy.  No sir.  Ms. Flynn had this woven tight, and I had a difficult time picking it apart, which was a good thing.  I like a good challenge.  You can ask DL about that.

This was the first book we’ve read where it actually all made sense, and that was refreshing.  There was no extraneous junk, and all the loose ends were tied fairly tight.  So YAY! for Ms. Flynn.

For September, we are reading Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies.  Won’t you join us?


Here are the reviews from the other ladies:




Sunday, August 31, 2014

What I found appealing…

It was the package that arrived for me from the publisher of my friend Jeff Markowitz.
(Jeff is a good guy—in his day job, he is a social worker who assists disabled adults.  In his spare time, he writes mysteries.  All the time, he is a good friend.)
So I was excited to get an advance copy of Death and White Diamonds.


I can’t wait to read it.  After all, “It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.” (EB White, Charlotte’s Web)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Guest Room Makeover, Part I

(The above is quite possibly the third ugliest carpet in North Carolina.  See how it’s faded?  The MOST ugly is in our master bedroom.  The second-place ugly carpet is out towards the coast.)

Well, we’re finally working on another room.  If you remember the world’s smallest bathroom, you’ll note that a room approximately 2’ x 4’ took us a year-and-a-half to complete.
The question is: how long will a 12’ x 12’ room take?
Well, if I leave it up to DL, about seven years. 
No way.

When we first moved in (and I don’t have any pictures of the move-in status of our guest room, because I wasn’t blogging about my house then…I was blogging about other $hit, like Halloween), the guest room walls had been wallpapered at some time, and then painted over.

That’s right…someone painted over wall paper. *Sigh*
Of course, that meant we needed to choose—try to peel off the paper that had already been sealed up with paint, taking perhaps fourteen years and 390 gallons of vinegar and water, or bead board over it.  We chose the bead board, which we painted.  We also replaced the three windows with new, energy efficient windows (Pella wooden—the expensive ones), which I primed and painted.  (The guest room white is Mirage White by Behr.)


The walls above the bead board is a close match to Behr’s Blue Feather, but no one knows what it originally was because it was leftover from our other house, in a plastic bottle. Unlabeled, of course, because that’s how we roll.

Once the walls were done, I ripped up the carpet and it was time to call in the big guns, AKA Marlin.


 Marlin is aptly named, because he works magic with floors.  And our floors?  Should have taken a week.  Instead (like everything else in this house), they took twice as long.  Mainly because they were covered in shellac.

(If you’re my age or older, you’ll remember shellac.  They shellacked EVERYTHING in the 1950s.  Spring cleaning?  Was also known as “wipe down everything that is made of wood and then shellac the he!! out of it.)

Marlin nearly quit when he realized what was going on.  “I only ever done one of these before,” he said, “and I said I would never do it again.  Who puts shellac on a floor?”  I told him I had no idea…that it certainly wasn’t me. 

I told him I would throw in an extra hundred bucks, and Marlin, being self-employed, got to work.


(Marlin even left me notes)

Marlin and I spent a delightful two weeks together, and the floors look GREAT!  Stay tuned for part two of the reveal!  (Seven months instead of seven years to finish a room?  We’re on a roll!)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Smack Talk and Punctuation

(Not THAT period, silly…the one at the end of a sentence.)

There’s a meme that’s been going around Facebook lately:

Nothing Says Over 40 Like Two Spaces after a Period!
(Visual courtesy of Cult of Pedagogy, a teacher site.)

And there’s a long history of typeface and what the rationale was for two spaces back in the day (which I guess means the 1970s, which is when I learned to type) and why you should no longer use two spaces.
Because it makes you seem old.
“Over forty” old.
I resemble that remark.

The rationale for today’s “one space” rule has something to do with typography and the way a word processing/desktop publishing program works.  And I get it…technology has again changed stuff from “the way it used to be,” just like it has changed the need for keeping a quarter on your person at all times in case something happens and you need to call your dad from a pay phone, so that he knew to come get you. Which involved tears approximately 73.8% of the time.

And, if you’re old like me, you might remember those very cool hand-lettered signs that the local sign painters made:

hand painted sign
(Now we computerize this stuff, so it’s easy.  Which is why it’s fun to learn to do it by hand again, via Skill Share!  We are such contrary beings.)
Anyway, I will add my two cents, and that’s that we should not hate on folks, whether they are single-spacers, or two-spacers.  No judging for how folks choose their spacing.  There might be rules, but when rules change mid-stream, we’re allowed to follow the old ones.
Some of the most successful bloggers don’t even USE “end marks” or “stops”, which is what periods/exclamation points/question marks can be called.  Some of the most successful bloggers feel that ellipses (…) are their best friends.  What do you suggest THOSE bloggers do?  Is there a limit to the number of spaces after…..

Stop the hate.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Crafting with ScotchBlue ™

Disclaimer: the following is a sponsored post for ScotchBlue ™ Painter’s Tape.  I received free product in return for this post, but the opinions and creation are all my own. 

When Ali contacted me and asked me if I was interested in doing something with ScotchBlue ™ Painter’s Tape, I said “Heck, yeah!” because I LOVE that stuff.
DL and I have been using ScotchBlue ™ Painter’s Tape for EVAH!  Probably since the week after it was invented.  If you’ve been following this blog, you know this is our seventh house, and every house has meant painting.  Before 3M’s amazing product, I had to use a level and an artist’s brush and my life was hard.  When Ali contacted me, it would have been easy to paint one of the bazillion things around Brandywine that needs painting, but I wanted to do something fun.  Mainly because I’m old and I’ll take my fun where I can get it.


I received two rolls of ScotchBlue ™ to use in my project, one just less than an inch, and one almost an inch and a half.  I wanted to use both sizes, so I poured myself a glass of wine and put on my thinking cap. (Wine is good for thinking.)


I gathered my fun-making materials (you can see I have no allegiance to any craft paint company—although if one wants to “adopt” me, that would be fine) and carved out a spot at the kitchen table. (Two things not shown: assorted paintbrushes and scissors.)


Then I ripped off about a foot of each of the sizes of tape.  I had to do this multiple times, as you can imagine after you see what I’ve done.


I lightly painted the burlap canvas with gesso.  I didn’t worry about getting it completely covered, as it was going to be painted over.


And the fun began! (After I poured a second glass of wine.)


Inspired by my friend Bliss’ current projects, I decided that a mosaic would be fun.


After I got done with the design using cut up pieces of tape, I took the two widths of ScotchBlue ™ Painter’s Tape and did a rectangle background:


(I made sure that the tape was adhered well, and I had NO problem with leakage. Which is more than I can say for times when I unexpectedly sneeze.)


Then it was time to paint!  (After I poured another half-glass.)

First, I used an artist’s brush to put gray (only one shade, not fifty) in the channels between the pieces of tape, to represent the ‘grout.’
I let that dry overnight, then I pulled off the center pieces of tape and used black and brown for the center of the flower.


Then it was on to the petals in yellow and gold.   At the end, I used greens for the background ‘tiles.’


I think it turned out pretty cool!  Now I feel like I could do a table top in a similar style with ScotchBlue ™ Painter’s Tape.  It pays to put on your thinking cap!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

What I found appealing

laura Ashley from midsomer
Raise your hand if you remember Laura Ashley dresses.

Keep your hand up if you had more than two or three in your closet.

laura ashley pattern 1

Extra points if you made a few yourself.

True confession:  I sewed the one above in two or three different fabrics, to wear when I was ‘just a little bit’ pregnant.

I sewed the short version of the one below for high school graduation:

Laura Ashley pattern 2

(Before you get nervous, these two things occurred 8 years apart.)

After I became a mom, I didn’t have time to sew, except for approximately 489 pairs of “jam” shorts for my son (not his real name) and gathered skirts that I added to the bottom of t-shirts for my daughter (not her real name).  She wore those over pants because she did not want anyone seeing her undies.  It was a look that said “my mom lets me choose my own clothes.”

What I’m finding appealing this week is that vintage Laura Ashley is making a comeback with young women.  While they won’t get the experience of shopping at the awesome little shops (Remember those?  My favorite was in Williamsburg), they can find Laura Ashley in vintage shops and Laura Ashley-inspired dresses on the runway. (No joke; I’ve seen them in the magazines!)

Would you try a puffed sleeve again?