Thursday, March 31, 2011

{Mis} Adventures in Spray Painting

I wanted to participate in Debbie's Color My World Linky Party.  I tried.  I really did!  But unfortunately, it was an:

Epic.

Failure!

I love the shape and size of these two trays.  The paint is a bit lacking (in several places), however.


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So here's an idea!  I can paint them with spray paint and they will look like new!  The only problem is I had a technical difficulty.  The trays looked fuzzy, like they were wearing sweaters.  I tried to take a picture, but you could not see it very well.

My daughter and I had to go out of town, so Super Hubbie to the rescue!



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I love my "like new" trays.

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I think I shall rest, drink some tea, and read because I have a cold.


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I also want to thank y'all for voting in my poll.  Most of you want me to paint my light fixture aqua.  After the mishap with the trays, I am a bit scared to touch another can of spray paint. Maybe my husband can supervise the project!


Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

First Roses of Spring

I am so excited to see the very first roses of spring.

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Do you remember what my front lawn looked like in October?  Here is a re-cap of one of my earliest posts entitled:  I Blog About Sins, Not Tragedies.

Upon returning home from a weekend trip to Atlanta, this is what I found:



Everything in my front garden was gone, except the two crepe myrtles and leyland cypresses. Even the grass was missing.  The original plan was this: remove the juniper bushes in the front and replace them with double knock-out roses.

Obviously, there was a slight miscommunication.  My roses are gone.  My azaleas?  Gone. My Japanese honeysuckle, Lady Banks rose over trellis, and gardenias?  Gone, gone, and...oh, yea...gone.

I know it was not a life or death situation, and there are far worse things that can happen in life.  It was not a tragedy, but it was a tremendous disappointment.  I worked hard to keep my roses black-spot free (which is a feat in Alabama, I tell ya!), and I fed and babied my beautiful azaleas.  Oh, well.  That's what I get for leaving town when we are beginning a big project (which, at the time, I did not realize was going to be so big).

My husband is a prince, and he helped to make it right.  The company he hired was the best, and all the gentlemen tried very hard to design, build, and plant a lovely front garden.

Here are the results:


We now have a brick retaining wall that matches the brick on our house. They moved one of our crepe myrtles, and committed crepe murder on them! I am thinking about adding a few knock-out roses to curve around the left-hand side of the wall.  It might soften it some. Do you think it's a good idea?

Here are a few close-ups of the foundation plantings you can't see from the street.  Now I have camellia and hydrangea babies to take care of (I have never had either before).




I also planted three planters for some fall color:





We also planted bunches of rosemary by the front steps.  According to lore, rosemary keeps unwanted guests away from your home.  We are hoping it will repel deer so they won't eat our flowers!




I am looking forward to the shrubs maturing, and I am anticipating beautiful camellias by Christmas.

{End of post.}

I can't wait to plant flowers later this spring!  Please share any suggestions you may have.

I am joining Fishtail Cottage's Flora Thursdays, and Flaunt Your Flowers Friday @ Tootsie Time.


Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Monday, March 28, 2011

You're My Obsession (Remember Human League?)

Many of you have teased me about my obsession with The Fresh Market's super-fun and tasty Coffees That Make Eighties Girls Smile.  :D

So laugh along with me because I paired my favorite coffees with my favorite MacKenzie-Childs mugs.  Be sure to read the names of the coffees.  They rock!  (seriously)


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Linking to litte red house's Mosaic Monday.

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bama Bound

                                               The University of Alabama


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                                                  Denny Chimes





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                                            Shanley Belle and Big Al


                                                 Roll Tide Roll!!!


Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Friday, March 25, 2011

Literary Friday: Swamplandia!

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This week I read Swamplandia! by Karen Russell.  This book should have come with a warning label. It's like giving a person a cigarette and telling her: "This will help you relax, lose weight, and give you something to do with your hands in awkward social situations" without telling her that: "Oh! And they cause cancer, are addictive, contain nicotine and carcinogens, and can cause birth defects if you are pregnant."  I found it very disturbing, and although the book flap gives a very broad plot outline, there is no indication at all about how dark this novel truly is.

The book is (for the most part) told from Ava Bigtree's point of view.  Ava is fourteen years old, and the youngest daughter in a family of  alligator wrestlers.  The family owns an alligator theme park called Swamplandia! in a swamp near the Gulf of Mexico and out from Ocala, Florida.  There they put on shows, conduct swamp tours, run a museum, and operate a diner. Ava's mother Hilola, the star of the Swamplandia! Gator Show, died of ovarian cancer the year before the book opens.  Since she had been the big draw for tourists, business is way down. Ava's father Chief Bigtree retreats to the mainland to supplement their income as a result. The oldest sibling, Ava's brother Kiwi, abandons his sisters and gets a job on the mainland at their new competitor, a theme park called the World of Darkness.  Since the World of Darkness' opening, almost all business ceases to exist. Ava's sister, Osceola, talks to ghosts and claims to have fallen in love with the ghost of a WPA dredgeman.  He dies one of the sickest deaths I have ever read in fiction, and Osceola runs away with him to live in the underworld leaving Ava all alone.

What happens to Ava is nightmarish.  I think that Karen Russell is a brilliant writer, and her sense of place is uncanny.  The world she has created is fantastical, terrifying, and brilliant. Her descriptions of the World of Darkness theme park (where the patrons are called lost souls) are so bizarre and creative that it is worth reading the book just for Kiwi's coming of age story from his point of view.

I do have a bit of a problem with the inconsistency of Ava's voice.  As a reader, you really get rooked-in to the fantasy bit about the underworld, as if Dante is waiting to guide you. What is fantasy and real in the book is a bit cloudy to me until the end, and I must confess that I am still not one hundred percent sure.  The book at times reads like a fantasy, and maybe it is depending on whether or not you believe Osceola's obsession with the occult is a real gift (or curse), or whether or not she is schizophrenic.

I will definitely keep an eye out for Karen Russell's next book.  I just wish I had not been so blindsided by Ava's tragic circumstances.  I thought that this was going to be a fun spring break read; I could not have been more wrong. It is way to dark for that, so if you choose to read this book, you have been forewarned.  If you would like for me to email you spoilers, I will be happy to, but I cannot post them.

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Taking a Break This Weekend

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I am taking a break from blogging this weekend and a few days next week as my daughter and I are enjoying a college visit.  I will post my Literary Friday Book Review later on today, and a post for Mosaic Monday.  Other than that, I will not be able to respond to many emails or comment on blogs because we have a packed schedule!

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Best Snack *ever*

Look at what I bought on sale for under $5.00:  two pounds of strawberries (only one is shown) and dipping chocolate!



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I am using an olive serving dish, but that's okay.  I don't like olives.....


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Life.  Is.  Good!

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chelsea from Flora Doora

If you have not visited Jane over at Flora Doora, you are missing out.  Her blog is eye candy! She makes the cutest little plastic-lined bags just perfect for hanging flowers on your doorknob.


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This is the Chelsea Flora Doora that I bought from her etsy store.  I filled it with daisies and hung it in my kitchen.  I did not hang it on a doorknob because of all the kids coming in and out during Spring Break.


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Here are two pictures of each side of the Chelsea:

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I think the Flora Doora bags are too, too cute!


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Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Readers, I Need Your Opinion on Our Light!

I am really tired of this brass light fixture we inherited from our house's previous owners.  I like the number of lights on it, and the shape.  I just hate the brass, so I thought about spray painting it! Debbie @ Debbiedoos is hosting a spray painting linky party called Color My World on March 25, but I can't decide which color to paint the light.  I want y'all to vote and help me pick the color!


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I will be keeping the shades, so keep that in mind.  Our walls are painted Benjamin Moore's Golden Straw.

The poll is on the top of my sidebar at the right.


Thanks so much!

Linking to Whassup Wednesday.






Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What We're Reading #2

What We're Reading





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This week, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, I re-read Frank Delaney's Ireland. The "framework" story in this book is that of a young man named Ronan O'Mara, whose life is drastically changed forever when a Seanchai, or a traveling storyteller, visits his home when Ronan is nine years old.  The storyteller's larger than life persona and story delivery makes a lasting impression on young Ronan; he knows that fate has brought this man into his life. Ronan is devastated when his mother sends the storyteller away from their home.

Ronan now has a new passion in life: history and stories about Ireland. Ronan spends most of his free time collecting and chronicling stories and searching for the storyteller.  Along the way, Delaney chronologically retells some of the most fascinating stories from Ireland's history: from the Architect of new Grange to the 1916 Poets' Rebellion.  Some of my favorite stories from the book include: St. Patrick and the Devil's Bit, The Origin of the Book of Kells, The Pursuit of Finn MacCool,  The Marriage of Strongbow, and The Man Who Could Handle Handel.  These rich stories are, for the most part, told in Ireland's oral tradition by the storyteller and other characters in the novel.  Delaney's writing is so perfect in recreating these oral stories that I feel I am there, in the smokey room, listening.  And I believe every word as the Gospel truth!  These stories of Ireland are what make this book so special.  I am not trying to take anything away from Ronan's story at all; it is very good in and of itself. But the Irish stories make this book unputdownable.

When Ronan enters university in Dublin, he decides to read history.  When tragedy strikes, Ronan takes to the road in pursuit of the storyteller.  After several months traveling and searching, Ronan is shocked by a family secret everyone seems to know about but him. Devastated, he returns to his favorite history professor's summer school session, and later to his family.  Ronan continues his education in Cork, and gives-up on finding the storyteller. Throughout the book, there have been odd coincidences in how the storyteller is able to find Ronan and send him transcripts of stories.  Other characters seem to know far more about the storyteller than is seemly, and no one is telling Ronan a thing.  Family secrets, Irish folktales, an ingenious plot, and a perfect climactic ending make this book a must-read for anyone who loves a good story.  And in the case of Ireland, you get dozens of well-written stories woven into its framework.

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill



Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ramsign Giveaway @ 2805

I wanted to let my readers know about Honey's Ramsign giveaway @ 2805.  I won Marie's giveaway, and the house number sign I ordered is in the Highland design; I absolutely love it!  Here are some pictures:

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I hope you will enter Honey's giveaway.  The link is here.

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

My Happy List #5

What a wonderful week!  I have been enjoying Spring Break with the girls, and accomplishing several projects around the house.

My Happy List:


1.   Today is my wedding anniversary.  I have been married to the love of my life for 23 years.  My husband makes me happy!


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2.   I have a clean dog.  Bonnie, you look beautiful, and you smell so good! Clean dogs make me happy!


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3.   We have a blue heron who lives in our neighborhood.  I finally got a good picture of him.  This makes me happy!


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4.   My grandmother turned 91 yesterday, and I got to spend the day with her.  I love her so much!  We had four generations present:  My grandmother, my mother, my two daughters, and me :D


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5.   My spring break reading list.  I have been revisiting some of my favorite Irish authors.


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6.   What We're Reading Linky Party!  Please join Bonnie and me tomorrow and share your book love!





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Don't forget to write your own Happy List and join Mamarazzi for her Happy List Linky Party @ Dandelion Wishes.


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Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bloggers Day of Silence

Nita @ Mod Vintage Life (one of my favorite blogs) posted about For Japan With Love's Bloggers Day of Silence which will be tomorrow, March 18th.


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You can read more about For Japan With Love here, and Shelterbox here.


I will be participating, so there will be no Literary Friday post for tomorrow. Instead,  I will spend the day with my grandmother as she celebrates her 91st birthday.  We have decided to buy a couple of shelter boxes in her honor (along with her other presents).

Also, I wanted to tell y'all about Donna's giveaway at her blog,  Conghaile Cottage.  It is for a $45.00 gift certificate to CSN stores, where you might want to buy something cute like the cupcake plates below.  Click here for her giveaway, but hurry, because it ends on Saturday, March 19th!!!


I will be posting about Frank Delaney's Ireland on Sunday for our What We're Reading Linky Party. Don't forget to join Bonnie and me; show your book love!

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill