Monday, April 30, 2012

Cracked-Up

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We have had lots of illness in the family lately, and I have several obligations this week.  I may not get the opportunity to blog much, but I will visit you as soon as I can!  Let's hope I do not crack like the little egg in the basket.  ;P

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dining Alfresco

Last weekend was so pretty, and we wanted to enjoy our meals alfresco.  But there was one problem: the wind!  It was way too windy, and the wind destroyed our outdoor umbrella that was only a year old!  I found a few gorgeous settings for alfresco dining online.  Although I have seen some of these gorgeous photos on some of your blogs, they were pretty enough to enjoy again.


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Wish us luck this weekend as I am still dreaming about eating our first meals outside this season.  Mr. Art @ Home already replaced our umbrella.  :D

Will you be dining alfresco this weekend?

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Friday, April 27, 2012

Literary Friday: The Very Picture of You

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Sorry I am getting this post up so late.  It has been an extremely busy day! This week I read The Very Picture of You by Isabel Wolff.  This is an excellent beach/lake read, and the main character is a portrait artist, so I enjoyed it immensely.  I did like it better than A Vintage Affair because I was not crazy about the ending.

Gabriella Graham (Ella for short) is an up and coming portrait artist in London.  She recently painted the Dutchess of Cornwall for the National Gallery, and she is being featured in an upcoming radio program featuring London artists.  As her career is taking off, her younger sister, Chloe, is planning her wedding to a handsome American named Nate.  Chloe bids on and wins a portrait painted by Ella at a charity auction.  She requests that Ella paint Nate. During Nate's portrait sittings, Ella begins to develop feelings for Nate that are totally inappropriate toward her sister's fiance.

Ella is known for her ability to capture the true essence of her subjects.  While painting five different portraits, Ella begins to learn more about herself than her subjects.  Several of their life experiences and current situations reflect similar situations in Ella's life.  As a birthday present to herself, she decides to hold an exhibit of the portraits in a gallery and invite the subjects, friends, and family as guests.

It was fun as an artist to read some of the technical aspects of portraiture. Ella's creative process was fascinating to me, and her interaction with the other characters both in the studio and out were fun because I appreciate Ella's spirit.  Family secrets, a mystery, a tragedy, and a meddling mother all contribute to a rich, well-written story.

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Today is the Anniversary of the Alabama F-5 Tornados


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I plan on attending the opening reception tonight.  What a terrible day in our state's history!


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Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Cutest Little Candles You'll Ever See!

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I won these adorably embellished candles from Andrea @ The Cottage Market .  They could not have come at a better time because it has been a difficult past couple of weeks with illness in our family.  They have truly cheered me up!

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I think the candles look cute on our coffee table.  :D


I have been running errands most of the day, and I will be cooking most of the day tomorrow for the weekend.  What have you been doing today?


Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Copycat Magazine Challenge: Almost May Day!








For this edition of Debbidoo's Copycat Magazine Challenge, I was looking for May Day door baskets/decor, like this one:


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This would look so cute on a garden gate for May Day.


Oddly enough, I found my inspiration from the January 2012 edition of Country Homes & Interiors: 


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The article is about using flowers in Christmas decorating, and I love these two images:


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This image reminds me of Debbie's window in her fabulous kitchen!  She has teacups hanging in her window.



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This is the craft that reminds me of May Day.  


I tried to make the little hanging teacup (from a doorknob) but it did not look very good.  Plus, we do not have a doorknob on our front door.  Doh!  *forehead slap*

So I decided, so what!  I'll just paint the darn thing, and I did.

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I had much more fun painting this than making it for real.  The colors will look more intense once I varnish it in a couple of months.


I am determined to make a May Day door basket, so come back on May 1st and see what I make for our front door.


Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill



We Want to Know Wednesday: Readers' Questions





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This week, Mamarazzi and Crazymama are celebrating one year of WWTKW by giving away a $25 Target gift card.  You should play for a chance to win!  ;P

Here are this week's questions:


Vandy @ http://tttandme.blogspot.com/ wants to know:
{one} What is your quirkiest habit?


I make tea all the time, and I don't always drink it because I become distracted by other things. I am like Annie on Being Human, but at least I can drink it!


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If I am home, this is what my drainboard looks like in early afternoon!


D @ http://beneaththesurfaceanewbeginning.blogspot.com/ wants to know:
{two}What TV show do you always stop to watch?


BBC-America's Top Gear is my favorite show, and I picked it when asked: "If you had to live a week in a TV show, which one would you choose?"

My second favorite is BBC-America's Being Human, and I have it on the brain due to question #1.


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I heard that Annie is leaving the show.  I hope it isn't true because I love her character!


Vanessa @ http://www.jfamforlife.com wants to know:
{three} What do you miss most about being a kid?


I miss riding my bike, a Huffy Spirit of 76.  I loved riding it through trails.  I loved that bike!


Jolene @ http://richjmylife.blogspot.com   wants to know:
{four} How many siblings do you have? 


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Kenzie @ http://cbmommyhood.blogspot.com wants to know:
{five} How do you get yourself out of a funk?


I rarely get into funks.  But when I do, a trip to Barnes and Noble and/or the library usually puts me in a  much better mood.


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I want to find this book because it is supposed to be so good.  *IF* I get in a funk this week, I shall find it!


Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Happy List: Pie in the Sky!






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I only have one thing on My Happy List this week.  But before you read any further, please play the Frank Sinatra video and enjoy the song while you read this post!



My Happy List

1.  Baking pies makes Mr. Art @ Home me happy!  :/



Mr. Art @ Home requested pie.  I thought it would be fun to make mini pies, but it is much harder than I thought.  I used a pie mold for the pies below, and the edges burned.

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These are strawberry-rhubarb pies.  They taste better than they look.  :/


Mr. Art @ Home bought himself me a little gift.


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So I got some ingredients together to make more pies.


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Ingredients for some of my experimental pies.


The first batch of strawberry-rhubard pies were burned.  Epic.  Failure.  :(


The next batch of lemon pies were not much better.  Nope.


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These lemon pies fell apart.  Some of them are missing bottoms!



But just like that little 'ole ant, I have high hopes.  Yes, I do!  I kept on trying....and I bought a book.


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This book truly helped.  :D


By the fifth batch, I had little pies that look like this:

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They are mixed berry pies (raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries).  I served them with powdered sugar, whipped cream and fresh berries.




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These pies did not break apart like the others.  *squee*

Mission.  Accomplished.  I want to try some savory pies next.  Then I would like to bake some gluten free pies so I can enjoy Mr. Art @ Home's my gift.

What is making you happy this week?  Join Mamarazzi @ Dandelion Wishes, and share your happy!

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mamarazzi is Hosting a Favorite Color Swap *squee*


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Mamarazzi @ Dandelion Wishes is hosting a favorite color swap.  My favorite color is red, but all shades of red, including *pink*  :D


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My favorite paint color is Gamblin's Perylene Red.  It is so pretty, and it is a transparent!  :D


I am so looking forward to the swap, and I will be shopping for someone and buying her fun surprises in her favorite color.  I wonder what color it will be.....

Are you swapping this spring?

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Fireplace Show and Tell Party

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Donna @ An Anglo in Quebec is hosting a Fireplace Show and Tell Party. I must REALLY LIKE Donna to participate because our mantel is a touchy subject around here.  So this post is about what NOT to do with the hearth of your home.  Donna is hosting this party because she is building a fireplace in her adorable Canadian cottage.  And she needs one because she has SNOW ON THE GROUND!  {Bless her heart.}

Here are some photos of our fireplace:

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Our mantel Christmas 2010.  Yep, the ugly black box wastes precious wall space where I could hang art.


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I used Benjamin Moore metallic paint to highlight the fireplace wall before Mr. Art @ Home decided to hang a TV there.  So now the metallic paint highlights the TV!  :/

The fireplace surround is Alabama white marble, and the inset tiles are MacKenzie-Childs.  It is a wood burning fireplace with gas start.


If you already have a post of about your fireplace, please link it up to give Donna some design ideas..or what NOT to do....either way, she will appreciate it.  Or you can write a new post (whatever works for you).  And while you are over there, check out her cottage kitchen.  It is one of the prettiest kitchens in blogland.








Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Getting in Touch With My Inner Child at Breakfast

I set our breakfast table with children's china, and Mr. Art @ Home thinks I have lost my mind! I miss the days when the girls were little *sadface*  I suppose that since I have been reading young adult novels lately I have been getting in touch with my inner child.  ;P


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Resources:
Children's china (plates, bowls, cups, saucers and egg cups):  MacKenzie-Childs
Tablecloth, butter dish, and jam jar:  Anthropologie
Ricrac napkins:  Pier1
Napkin rings:  Wedding gift
Westie salt and pepper shakers:  Church Mouse  Fairhope, AL
Cutlery:  Mod Apartment
Rooster jug:  Italy
Vase:  Judy's New Orleans

How do you get in touch with your inner child?


Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill



Friday, April 20, 2012

Literary Friday: City of Fallen Angels Read-a-Long!

I hate to be negative on my blog, and my last review was not positive in spite of the fact that the writer is very talented.  I need a do-over.

so......

I decided to write about a fun Read-a-Long that Mundie Moms is hosting as we count down to the release of Book 5 in The Mortal Instruments Series!


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While we wait these last agonizing days for the release of The City of Lost Souls, read along with us as we read Book 4, The City of Fallen Angels!





Please check out the trailer for The City of Lost Souls below.



Do you read The Mortal Instruments and/or The Infernal Devices?  You can read several of my reviews from these series by visiting my literature page above.

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Literary Friday: The Vanishers

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This week I read The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits .  I almost wish I hadn't.  {almost}  This book has received rave reviews and was recommended to me by several sources.  If you decide to read it, please be forewarned that the synopses I read beforehand are misleading.  This deception is almost understandable because the plot is very convoluted and unnecessarily complicated.

Basically, the story is about a twenty-something Julia Severn, a student at an exclusive New England institute for psychics.  Julia is one of the most talented in her class, and she is soon chosen to be Madame Ackermann's intern.  Ackermann becomes jealous of Julia because Julia completes a complicated regression to solve a mystery for one of Ackermann's clients. Julia is violently attacked psychically, and the assumed attacker is Ackermann.

But what this book is really about is rivalry between women, and believe me it is exhausting to read.  There is conflict between basically all of the female characters.  With women treating each other so poorly, who needs men to challenge or oppress?  Women can destroy each other all on their own without help from men.  Oh, joy!   Unfortunately, Julia is a very unlikable character, and I really do not care what happens to her because she behaves so badly.  Karma is a....female, too, Julia!  There is no rest for the wicked in this story, and if you are dead, that is no excuse NOT to cause mayhem. Ghosts as well as psychic vampires mean to harm Julia, too.

There is too much psychobabble in the book.  I appreciate T.S. Eliot as well as other modernists, but a novel full of numbed, Prufrock-like zombies is too much for me.  I do not want to write a spoiler about what the title means, but I will tell you that it reflects a selfishness that makes me sad.  I am tired of entitled, whiny victims who never take responsibility for their own misery.

The prose in The Vanishers is quirky and filled with surprises.  I only wish that Julavits could channel her genius in a much kinder, gentler direction.  Maybe next time she can at least write a book with one likable female character who is not a destructive force against other women.  A simpler plot would be nice, too.

Until next time..

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill




Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dining With Art

What is your art style in your dining room?

Do you prefer very large abstracts?

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....or do you like a traditional grouping of similar paintings, like landscapes or florals?

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What about gorgeous fabric used as art on windows and walls?


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Do you think that art is too much of a distraction in the dining room?  I would love to read your thoughts about art in the dining room!

Answer to the question from my last post {What do I regret not buying at the Chelsea Antique Mall?}:
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Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill