Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Happy List #41



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I do not have a long list this week, but that does not mean that I am not very happy.  I am happy.  But there are two things that have made me extra happy this week, and they are both making snack time fun.

My Happy List


1.     Amy's gluten free shortbread cookies are fantastic!  They are made with organic almond flour and are only 90 calories each.   I can have two cookies with tea and have a delicious snack under a 200 calories.  Shortbread I can eat makes me happy!




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2.     Starbucks has two new Blonde roasts called Veranda and Willow.  They were giving away free samples of  the Veranda last Thursday, and I tried it.  I love the Veranda roast, and I will definitely brew it at home when I want something lighter than Cafe Verona.  Free coffee makes me happy!  Check out the video here.



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Has anyone tried the Willow blend?  

Join Mamarazzi @ Dandelion Wishes, and share your happy!

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill




Gorsuch Home

While in Beaver Creek we shopped at Gorsuch Home.  I have been a customer of Gorsuch since the 1970's, and I was thrilled several years ago when they opened a home store.

Here are some photos of the shop:


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Gorsuch sells gorgeous Austrian pottery and linens.



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Antlers and horns have been stalking me lately, I tell ya!



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Here is a closer look at the lamp in the above photo.



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I love this tablescape!



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We bought this frame at Gorsuch Home.  It was hand carved in France.  Do you recognize the flowers on the frame? They are edelweisses!   


Gorsuch also sells a lovely selection of MacKenzie-Childs, so I felt right at home shopping there!

Don't forget that tomorrow begins my Fourteen Days of Love Valentine-themed posts.  Please join me as I feature the love bug in our house, Bonnie!



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Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill





Monday, January 30, 2012

14 Days of *LOVE*

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I hope you will join me the next two weeks starting Wednesday, February 1st, for posts in honor of Valentine's Day.   I have some fun posts planned, including Valentine decor, recipes, entertaining and gift ideas, and poetry. Yep!  You read that right: poetry.  On Valentine's Day I will post my favorite love poem, and I hope you will join in on the fun, too!

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Starbucks Has Gone Blonde!



I have tried the Veranda.  It is fantastic!

Have you tried it yet?

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lovely Romantic Rooms *le sigh*

This post is all about pretty romantic rooms.  I have posted a couple of these rooms before, but I think they are worth viewing again.


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I love the pink and pale pine floors in this living room from Better Homes & Gardens Magazine.



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Our dining room was painted this shade of ballet slipper and I miss it...from Country Living Magazine.


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Shabbylicious!  I love this dining room decorated by Sue Balmforth.   From Bountiful Home.



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If I had the room, I would have a wrapping desk in the corner of the art studio.  From Better Homes and Gardens Magazine.



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I love this zinc topped vanity.  From Country Homes and Interiors Magazine.



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I would stay in bed all day.  From Rachel Ashwell's The Prairie Bed and Breakfast.



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I love this breakfast nook and butler's pantry.  From Coastal Living Magazine.



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I love the pink fridge and patina of this kitchen.



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Normally I do not like dark walls, but the peacock blue fridge, chandeliers, and white bar stools more than make up for the darker charcoal walls.



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The lovely shades of gray and white in this kitchen are drool worthy.  The fluted apron-front sink is stunning, too.  Even without the staging, this kitchen is so, so pretty.
All three kitchens from Country Living Magazine.





Which room is your favorite?

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Friday, January 27, 2012

Literary Friday: Creative Walls

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This week I have been reading two books:  Creative Walls by Geraldine James, and Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.  Shantaram is over 900 pages, so I have not quite finished reading it.  I will post about it next Friday.

I enjoyed Creative Walls.  {Mostly.}  I do not know why I tortured myself reading this book because we have very little wall space in our home.  I would love to incorporate some of the creative ideas so beautifully photographed in this book on our {few} walls.  One of my favorite chapters in the book is Children's and Students' Spaces: It was loaded with truly creative and affordable ideas.  Shanley will be living in an apartment next year at college, and I think she will find inspiration in this chapter.

Ideas I Love in Creative Walls

1.     Life-size GAP poster from the 1980's filling the wall opposite a doorway
2.     Memory board covered in concert tickets
3.     Pretty vintage bottles from the collectibles chapter
4.     Postcards and greeting cards displayed behind a vintage vanity
5.     Gorgeous art collections


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This image is from my copy of the book.  It is one of my favorite ideas and photos.  I would love to paint it one day!



What I did not care for: the overabundance of dead animals and dead animal parts on walls throughout the book.  I did a quick count, and I counted at least 43 pages out of 224 that have dead animal parts, mostly antlers.  But there are also skulls, horns, skeletons, stuffed animals, and other specimens.  One bar area had antlers and horns in graduated sizes with a menacing-looking stuffed swan standing guard over the bottles.  I do not have anything dead in my house, including dried flowers.  This is my only criticism, though.  But please do not let this stop you from checking out Creative Walls.  I think you will find it inspiring overall.

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What's Black, and White, and Red {Read} All Over???



My New Valentine's Day Craft!!!



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I love how the hearts have little messages on the back: "Yes," "Love Grows," and "Forever."

I cheated and bought the tray from Hobby Lobby.  It came with a template which was helpful when it came time to cut out the paper to put in the tray.  I wanted something to hold my collection of hearts.

What have you been crafting lately?


Linking to:


A Happy Valentine's Tuit Tuesday



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Thursday Favorite Things











Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

We Want to Know Wednesday #15




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Mamarazzi has provided the questions for this week's We Want to Know Wednesday, also hosted by Crazymama and Queso.  I am so impressed because Mamarazzi is in the middle of moving!


{1} What is your favorite room in your house and why? Bonus points for a picture.
{2} What is your favorite time of day and why?
{3} What is your favorite genre of music (or band/singer) and why?
{4} What is your favorite "go to" snack? Is it something you keep on hand?
{5} What is your favorite form of exercise or way to keep moving?


1.     My favorite room in our home is our art studio, for obvious reasons!


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2.     My favorite time of day is early morning because it is when I am the most productive.  I am a morning person!


3.     I like all kinds of music, but I tend to listen to Alt Nation more than any other station. Lately I have been listening to Coldplay, The Black Keys, Foster the People,  The Avett Brothers and Taylor Swift.





4.     My favorite go to snack is popcorn.  I love it!  My second favorite is Fage fat free Greek yogurt with honey.  I also keep honeycrisp apples for a quick snack.


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5.     I love to walk, just like Elizabeth Bennet!  I have an elliptical for days I cannot walk due to my schedule or weather.  I also like the hula hoop, but they are not like the ones we played with as kids.  They are larger and much, much heavier.  I am cross training  ;P  





This video is from a local class.






I want you to link-up and answer these questions!

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

The Witch Ball

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Ginger from Small Town, U.S.A. sent me a witch ball for Christmas.   It is so pretty, and I wanted to learn more about them.

The best site I found for information on the witch ball can be found here.  The site is called Sunny Reflections, and they have some pretty artwork

The Witch Ball is used for protection against evil spells, witches, negativity, sickness, and ill fortune.  Traditionally, Witch Balls are hung in an east window. However, any area around your home, whether in a window, porch, on a desk, or even outside in a garden, is a perfect spot to place a Witch Ball to ward off negative energy.  They were also the precursors to the gazing ball, which are traditionally solid with a reflective surface.  They reflect evil from our gardens.

Historically, Witch Balls have been around for over 600 years.  They were first molded into sloppy spherical shapes in the Medieval times to ward off witches, goblins, and evil spirits. During Victorian times, Witch Balls were molded in a more refined shape and used higher quality glass and were displayed to declare prestige and wealth.  The legend was discussed but regarded more as a superstition.  Today, Witch Balls have become perfected in their shape and variety of colors to display beautifully as artwork or decorations, the belief of their magic and the true legend behind them is left for you to decide!

Traditionally, witch balls are either blue or green, with strands of colored glass within them. They can be as large as seven inches in diameter, and the pretty colors and strands of glass inside attract evil spirits.  Once inside, the strands trap the spirits forever and they can no longer cause harm.

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Just in time for Valentine's Day, this is the Tree of Love Inspirational Ball is from Kitras.  Notice the strands of glass inside!


The first Christmas tree ornaments were actually witch balls.  Folks did not want their friends and neighbors to be jealous of all the presents under their trees, so witch balls were placed on the branches to dispel their envy.  I always find it interesting how pagan traditions and dates have been incorporated into the Christian calendar and traditions.  These traditions were started by the Roman Emperor Constantine during the fourth century and continue to this day.


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Ginger bought me a Kitras Art Glass Tree of Family ball.  This is what the card attached to the ball says:

"There is no greater comfort in life then the unconditional love and support of family. Like the roots of a tree, family nourishes and encourages us to grow to limitless possibilities. The Tree of Family reminds us that no matter how far we branch out as individuals, our family is always there for support, for encouragement, and above all, for love."


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I love the art of these balls, and I prefer the sentiment of the Inspiration Balls from the Kitras Company.  My Tree of Family ball is hanging in our kitchen.

Do you have a witch ball in your kitchen, or a gazing ball in your garden?  Were you aware of the history behind them?


Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Happy List #40



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My Happy List




1.     We are safe, and our home is intact.  (See yesterday's post here.)



2.     My children are thriving and working hard in school.  Shanley Belle made the Dean's list, and she has been invited to join the Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society.  Shelley was awarded the Striving for Excellence in Reading Award at her middle school's academic awards assembly last Friday.


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3.     I have been using a new medium by Gamblin called Neo Megilp.  I really like the way it suspends the paint on the canvas.  I love Gamblin products, especially their paint colors.


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I hope you are happy today!  Please join Mamarazzi @ Dandelion Wishes, and share your happy!

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill



Monday, January 23, 2012

Thankful.

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While I sit here in the studio getting ready to start my day, I am so grateful we are safe, and we have no property damage.  The sun is coming out, and I am thanking God we were spared. Tuscaloosa was spared, too, thankfully.  I am also grateful for your sweet emails.  Your concern for me and my family is so touching!

Central Alabama had another deadly tornado outbreak overnight and early this morning.  Too many folks were not as fortunate as us.  They could really use our prayers and positive thoughts this morning.

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Debbiedoo's Copy Cat Challenge: Valentine's Edition

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Forbidden Fruit


When I was trying to decide what to do for this month's copy cat challenge, I was looking through Victoria Magazine's Holiday Bliss Edition: and I fell in love with this photo.

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I love it because it reminds me of an old Dutch master's painting.  Legend says that the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden was the pomegranate, although the Bible does not mention the fruit's name.  I love how the pomegranate is front and center in this still life.  The lacy linen in the bowl is also very romantic, but I do not want to paint lace again any time soon.


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"Forbidden Fruit"
9" X 12"
oil on artist panel


Because the lace was so challenging, I did not paint the border on the bowl.  I sort of don't like the design on it, and I just kept the black rim.


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I hope you have lots of fun activities planned for Valentine's Day.  I know I do!  Please join Debbiedoo for her Valentine Edition of the Copy Cat Challenge!

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Friday, January 20, 2012

Literary Friday: Falling Together

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This week I read Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos.  This is the second book of hers I have read.  You can read my post about Belong to Me here.

I tend to favor character-driven books.  De los Santos's characters are so endearing, unique, and complex, yet the issues they face are universal.  The three main characters in Falling Together meet the first day of college their freshman year.  Penelope (Pen) Calloway, a tall, willowy beauty, leaves her English lecture in tears, not because of Beowulf's fate, but because her mascara is running down her face.  She finds a pretty, fae-like girl named Cat having a seizure in the bathroom.  Pen panics and grabs the first sweatshirt in the hallway and drags it into the ladies' room.  The sweatshirt belongs to Will, and he takes charge of the situation and helps Cat.  The three form a strong friendship that lasts throughout their college years.

Six years after graduation, Pen is living with her brother, Jamie.  She is still dismayed that Will and Cat separately walked out on her shortly after graduation, and so much has transpired in the interim.  Her father has died, and Pen has a five year old daughter.  Cat grieves for all she has lost, and she is stunned and elated when Cat sends an email requesting Pen's attendance at their college reunion.  When Pen and Will arrive on campus, Cat is a no-show, but her obnoxious husband is there. He influences Pen and Will to travel across the world with him.

The plot, partly told in flashback, builds to reveal why the best friends parted ways.  To me, this story is personal and touching as friends come and go in and out of our lives.  We graduate, move, marry, have children, change neighborhoods, churches, and play groups.  But usually we do have what my friend Susan calls "touchstone friends."  They are friends we had when we were young, and no matter what, no mater the distance, they are always there for us.  That is why this novel moved me to tears.  Pen, Cat, and Will should have remained touchstone friends, and I so badly yearned for a positive resolution while reading the book.

I highly recommend Falling Together.  Marisa de los Santos writes about relationships better than anyone.  You will not be disappointed in her books. But be forewarned: you might be compelled to call, email, google, or Facebook stalk college friends you have not heard from in years!  ;P

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thanks, y'all!


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I appreciate your emails and comments yesterday about our coffee table. Some of you suggested that I use larger items because our coffee table is large, so I changed it today.


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The hydrangeas were on sale today at the grocery store for $4.99.  :D


What do you think?

I am heading to Tuscaloosa to have lunch with my daughter.  I got used to having her around during the holidays, and I miss her!

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How to Decorate Your Coffee Table

I read a neat article in Southern Living Magazine about how to decorate your coffee table written by designer Phoebe Howard.   I thought I would give Phoebe's advice a try.

Here is Phoebe's design.  Her formula is listed beside the photo in the article. You can click on the above Southern Living Magazine link and read it.


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Here are three version of my coffee table following the same rules:


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I think these look nice, but I think Phoebe was designing for a true living room and not a family room.  Here are my issues:

1.  A large basket of a dozen remote controls, and I only understand how to use two of them.


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2.  Coasters!  We need coasters because we actually use our coffee table for...coffee and tea!

3.  Library books:  I like keeping my library books on the coffee table as a reminder to turn them in on time!


In reality, this is the best our coffee table will look.  I am still following Phoebe's rules (loosely), it's just that the tall feature has been replaced by our basket of remotes, and the small sculptural object has been replaced by coasters.


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Which version of our coffee table do you like best?  

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill