Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wit & Whimsy: Mad for Plaid




I love the quirky combination of elements in this relaxed living room:  The sepia-toned nautical prints; the bold plaids; the vintage container lamp; and the Dagwood throw pillow make me smile!

What do you think about this room?

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Happy List: Horse Show Weekend

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This is my last week of hosting My Happy List for Mamarazzi.  I appreciate all of you who've participated this month.

My Happy List

Horse Shows are fun, and they always make me happy!

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Three of the younger riders at our barn.



Shelley had a horse show at her home barn this weekend, and what a brisk, cool day for showing horses!

Shelley showed Willie, and he did much better than expected.  Shelley looked fantastic!  She has such poise, and a great seat.




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Shelley and Willie



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Shelley and two of her friends who came to watch







Here is a short video of Shelley and Willie on one of their trips.



Shelley placed second twice and fourth once.  She has much more "blue" on her wall, but we weren't expecting much from Willie.  He actually exceeded our expectations!



Please link-up today.  I want to read your Happy List!

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Monday, October 29, 2012

Musical Monday: The Ballad of Mona Lisa



My daughters and I were discussing creepy videos the other day, and I thought I'd pick one for Musical Monday in honor of Halloween.  I chose The Ballad of Mona Lisa by Panic! at the Disco.  I chose this one for its Steampunk coolness.


Panic!  at the Disco  "The Ballad of Mona Lisa"


Other videos in the running:  My Chem's "Black Parade," Ludo's "Love Me Dead," Evanescence's "Call Me When You're Sober," and 30 Seconds to Mars "The Kill."

What are you listening to this week?

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill


An Afternoon in the Art Studio



Some of you have inquired about how the studio looks when I'm using it.  I think some of y'all are a wee bit skeptical that I keep it neat, so here's what it looked like a few days ago while I was finishing my Bell jar painting.


I have my paints, paper towels, Q-tips, and brushes out.  I lay out my palette like you see on my palette paper.  My MacBook Air has my image on it I am painting from, and my iPad is tuned in to Pandora radio.  


I sit on one of the poufs, and Bonnie likes to sit on the other one while I paint.

When I finish I do put everything away except for my brushes, painting, and easel.   I store other paintings I am working on in pizza boxes I keep in the armoire.

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pink Out!

My daughter had a Pink Out pep rally at her school yesterday.  Everyone was encouraged to wear pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month.

After school, Shelley had some friends over for a sleepover, so I put together a little Pink Out treat for them: tea and sugar cookies.


I used Ann's recipe @ On Sutton Place.  You can see her sugar cookie recipe here.












The green carnations compliment the toile napkins.

Resources:
Toile place mats and napkins:  Waverly from The Home Depot
Tea set, plates, and mugs:  MacKenzie-Childs
Sheer pink napkins:  English Ivy
Napkin rings:  Pier 1
Crystal vase:  Horse Show First Place Trophy

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Friday, October 26, 2012

Think Pink!

MacKenzie-Childs has tied a pink ribbon around their Courtly Check vase in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month.  I like it!


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$58

For every Courtly Check Enamel Vase with a pink bow purchased during the month of October, MacKenzie-Childs will donate 10% of the purchase price to the Continuum Breast Cancer Reconstruction Fund. The fund was created to improve access to care and patient education and to support research in breast reconstruction. Its mission is to ensure that all women faced with breast cancer have the opportunity to restore a sense of self-esteem and overall well-being.


What a fun way to support Breast Cancer Awareness!



Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Literary Friday: Beautiful Ruins



This week I read Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.  I bought it on our Great Indie Bookstore Tour, but I'm just now getting around to reading it!

[Dick} Cavett's four great interviews with Richard Burton were done in 1980...Burton, fifty-four at the time, and already a beautiful ruin, was mesmerizing.
-"Talk Story" by Louis Menand, The New Yorker, November 22, 2010

This book is beautifully written, and I couldn't put it down.  There are several story lines going on at once, but they all have a connection to the disastrous filming of 1962's Cleopatra in Italy starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.  Burton and Taylor fell in love on the set and began a torrid affair, destroying both of their marriages.  Taylor had recently broken-up the marriage of Eddie Fisher and America's Sweetheart, Debbie Reynolds.

The story's main character is Pasquale Tursi, the owner of a tiny hotel on in an isolated village on the Italian coast.  The only access to Porto Vergogna is by boat which limits the village's commerce greatly.  Pasquale's dream is to fill his hotel full of Americans, but unfortunately the inn's only American visitor is a writer names Alvis Bender who returns year after year to work on his book.  One day, an American starlet working on the film Cleopatra appears on his dock to rest at his hotel.  Sadly, she is ill, and Pasquale suspects that she is meant to be  at one of the other more populated beach communities in the Cinque Terre. 

In the present, Pasquale travels to Los Angeles to find a production assistant (now a major Hollywood producer) who worked on the film in the hopes of finding Dee Moray, the American starlet.  This is where the interweaving of the book's dozen or so characters begins.  Stories about characters as disparate as a Donner party hero, a World War II German artist, a nineties grunge band front man, a disillusioned Hollywood production assistant, a young angst-ridden writer, and even Richard Burton coalesce into a wonderful story full of passion for life.  The big epiphany discovered by Michael Deane, Hollywood Producer extraordinaire, and explained is his memoir is:

"We want what we want."

These wants propel us into making choices that sometimes work out well for us, and sometimes end in tragedy.  But every once in a while, the true heroes choose to do the right thing rather than what they want, and that kind of self-sacrifice can bring even more joy than could ever be imagined.



What have you been reading this week?

This is a linky!




Until next time...
Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tasty Thursday: Squash Muffins

This is one of my favorite fall recipes, and a sneaky way to get your kids to eat vegetables.

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Squash Muffins

Ingredients:
2 lbs. yellow squash (about 8 medium)
2 eggs
1 c butter, melted
1 c sugar
3 c all-purpose flour
1 T plus 2 t baking powder
1 t salt

Method:
Wash squash thoroughly; trim off ends.  Cut squash into one inch slices.  Cook in a small amount of boiling water 15 - 20 minutes or until tender.  Drain well, and mash.

Measure enough of the squash to equal 2 cups.  Combine squash, eggs, and butter.  Stir well and set aside.

Comine remaining ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.

Spoon into greased muffin tins 3/4 full.  Bake @ 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

*The recipe is supposed to make 1 1/2 dozen muffins, but I usually make slightly more, maybe 22 muffins.



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I hope you try these!  They're great!
Linking to:
Sunny Simple Sunday
Beautiful Sunday

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wit & Whimsy: Foyer Troubles

Readers, I need your help!

We have a sad little foyer.  It is sad because it is tiny, has a closet, and that's about it.  There is virtually no wall space in there, so I've decided to something about it...

I am going to paint a painting of a pretty foyer to put in our foyer.  People will see it and say, "What a pretty foyer!" And then they will associate the "fake" foyer with our foyer.  They will tell everyone, "The Treleavens have the prettiest foyer!"  :/  {Do you really think this will work?}

So here are the three choices, and I want you to vote for your favorite foyer in the poll on the sidebar:


Pretty Bannister



French Chair



Grecian Mirror


What do you think?  I bought an 18" X 24" gessoed panel that won't be framed for the painting. I have my favorite, but I am curious to read your thoughts.

I appreciate your input!

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Happy List: The Third Saturday in October

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Welcome to My Happy List!  Mamarazzi is taking a blogging break during October, so I am hosting for her.


If you are Southern you know that the Third Saturday in October is reserved for one of college football's oldest rivalries:  Alabama v. Tennessee.  The game was in Knoxville this year, so we stayed home.


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This year, Alabama won 44 - 13.


We spent the weekend at Lake Marin, and we had the best night Saturday night.  We watched part of the football game on TV, then we motored by boat to the Springhouse Restaurant, Tallapoosa County's only five-star restaurant. Two golf carts were waiting for us at the dock to take us to dinner.


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 Springhouse Restaurant on beautiful Lake Martin


Three couples joined us, and we had the most delicious dinner beside a huge roaring fire in a pretty stone fireplace.  We needed the warmth after the chilly ride!

I had the roasted duck breast with roasted apples, red pearl onions, caramelized Brussels sprouts and sorghum syrup.  Yummy!  For dessert, I had milk and cookies:  a chocolate pot de creme, whipped cream, and the most delicious shortbread cookies I have ever tasted.

One interesting thing we sampled: a cocktail that we all passed around the table to try.  I hope none of us was sick  ;P   Here is the recipe...it is very interesting!

Uncle John's Elixir
Uncle John's satsumas
Fresh Booger Hollow Turmeric and Ginger
Cathead Vodka
Gran Manier 

For the ride home, Springhouse sent us on our way with espressos in tiny mason jars.  :D  We took our time motoring home so we could enjoy the Orionid Meteor Shower.  We saw several meteors during the shower, and it was one of the best date nights we have had in a very long time!

Super-fantastic date nights make me SOOOOOOO Happy!!!

What's made you happy lately?  Link-up and share!

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Monday, October 22, 2012

Musical Monday: "Take on Me"



The number one song on this date in 1985 was A-Ha's "Take on Me."  I was twenty at the time, and I loved this video when it was released.  It was the first music video to use the rotoscope process.  Rotoscoping is an animation technique in which animators trace over footage, frame by frame, for use in live-action and animated films.  Rotoscope output can have slight deviations from the true line that differs from frame to frame, which when animated cause the animated line to shake unnaturally, or "boil". The "boil" intentionally is a stylistic technique sometimes used to emphasize the surreal quality of rotoscoping, as in the music video "Take on Me."


This video was nominated for several MTV music video awards, including video of the year.  It won the Viewers' Choice Award in 1986.


As a bonus, I have included the "Take on Me" literal video.  It is hysterical!





What have you been listening to lately?  Join Miss Angie for Musical Monday!

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Pretties in a Ball Jar


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"Pretties in a Ball Jar"
8" X 10"
oil on canvas

I painted a pretty image I saw on White on Rice Couple blog.  You can see the image here.
I need to decide how to frame it.

Linking to:

Mod Vintage Life

Feathered Nest Friday


Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill


Friday, October 19, 2012

Literary Friday: State of Wonder

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This week I read State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.  Ann also owns one of my very favorite indie bookstores, Paranassas Books, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Ann Patchett is a national treasure.  She is one of the best writers of my generation, and I love State of Wonder.  The plot is a bit of a slow starter, but if you press on, I think you'll love it, too! The story is a fantastic escape, yet Patchett's elegant prose lifts it to literary heights.

Dr. Marina Singh is a research doctor with Vogel, a major pharmaceutical company.  Her lab partner, Dr. Anders Eckman, has died of a fever in the Amazonian jungle while checking on yet another research doctor, Annick Swenson.  Swenson is spending millions of dollars developing a fertility drug that will enable women to delay conception and birth past menopause, and the drug will also make Vogel billion of dollars.  Eckman's widow, Karen, and Marina's boss convince her to travel to the Amazon and find out the details of Eckman's death while also reporting on Swenson's progress.

Marina is used to the wide open prairie skies and cold Minnesotan winters. Nothing could have prepared her for the heat, humidity, and claustrophobic vegetative canopy of the jungle. There are dangers everywhere:  anacondas and poisonous lancehead snakes; insects; cannibal natives wielding poison arrows and darts; and fevers.  The mysterious martin trees' bark combined with excretions from a moth have enabled the native Lakashi women's lifelong fertility.  The jungle is full of miracles, and not just among the Lakashi. The plot is shockingly unpredictable, and the relationships between the characters are wonderfully complicated.  I think an honors ethics class could be based entirely on this book.  I truly loved everything about it, including the science and the ending which made me gasp out loud.

What have you been reading?  This is a linky.

Until next time...
Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wit and Whimsy: Gothic-Style Loft

Something personal has come up, and I am trying to handle the situation before Shanley Belle's birthday on Friday.  I am so sorry for being such a bad bloggy friend.  I won't be blogging much for the rest of the week, but I will return for a Literary Friday post.  I will try to visit y'all by the end of the weekend.

In the meantime, I wanted to share this whimsical loft space with you.  The gothic window is a wee bit creepy for October, and the pears are a lovely autumnal still-life.


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via Pinterest
Love this with the tall stack of books!


Have a great rest of the week, and I hope to see you back here for Literary Friday!




Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Happy List: Happy in the Art Studio

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Welcome to My Happy List, a link party hosted by Mamarazzi @ Dandelion Wishes.  I am hosting for her this month while she takes a break.

I only have one thing to share this week, but it's a biggie.

I am happy in the art studio!!!  :D

This post could've also been subtitled:

Where the heck is Mike Rowe when you really need him?  :/

I have been working diligently organizing and cleaning the studio.  But the one job I really hate is cleaning the threads on the paint tubes.  They get so icky!  Check it out:


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I use Goo Gone to clean the tubes.  I had tons of them to clean!

I also attended a Jamboree at Forstall Art Supply and got lots of freebies!!!  


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Look at all the Gamblin freebies *and* an Alizarin Crimson from Graham paints!



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I really like the idea of using walnut oil as a solvent and medium.  It is nontoxic and better for my asthma and the environment! I bought this started kit.  The paint feels like butter!

What is making you happy this week?  Link-up and share!


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Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill


Monday, October 15, 2012

Happy Founders' Day

Happy Founders' Day to all of my Zeta sisters!



Think Pink for Susan G. Komen!!!


This is my sorority's national philanthropy.


Until next time...

Zeta love,
Ricki Jill

Musical Monday: Carried Away




Did anyone see this week's Saturday Night Live with host Christina Applegate and Passion Pit as musical guests?

Passion Pit played "Take a Walk" (which I'm sure you've heard unless you've been on a silent retreat in a monastery for the past several months) and "Carried Away."

It was a great show, but in case you missed it, here is Passion Pit's performance of "Carried Away."





What have you been listening to lately?

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Friday, October 12, 2012

Literary Friday: A Casual Vacancy and Unspoken



Recently I read A Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling and Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan.  I will discuss A Casual Vacancy first.





First of all, I loved the Harry Potter series and I have read it multiple times.  I understand that writing an adult novel is new to Rowling, and there is no way anyone could possibly compare the series to this book.  However, I hated it. As a matter of fact, I returned the book, and here's why:

A Casual Vacancy was very well written and edited.  I will give Rowling that. The book reminded me of a Maeve Binchy book, except Binchy's books aren't filled with foul language and despicable characters.  I care about the characters in Binchy's books, but I did not care what happened to the characters in A Casual Vacancy.  Rowling said in an interview that she expected everyone to cry at the end of the book.  Well I didn't cry, and I wasn't surprised.  I was sad that I would never get back those lost hours from reading it, though.  Rowling packs the book with filth, and it comes off as juvenile.  Why do we need an adolescent male describing female genitalia in infinite detail?  Really???  It is as if Rowling was trying so hard to write an adult book that she felt compelled to put every adult situation and dirty word she could think of in it.  As far as the humor in the book?  I did not see it at all. Another thing I hated is that Rowling's tone seemed preachy to me.  It's fine for writers to care about social issues, but even if I agree with a writer, I don't like to be lectured to in the guise of a fictitious story.

Don't waste your time and money on this one.




Now on to a more positive note, I read a delightful young adult book entitled Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan.  

I loved this gothic novel!  Brennan has created a world unique in YA fiction. The main character, Kami Glass, lives in a pretty little English village built of Cotswold stone called Sorry-in-the-Vale.  She has an imaginary friend who has spoken to Kami inside her head since she was a baby.  Everyone in her village knows that when Kami gets a faraway look in her eye, she is having an internal conversation with her friend.  Of course this unnerves people; she is an oddity.  

The Lynburn family owns the huge manor Aurimere House that sits high on a hill overshadowing the village. The family had been absent for many years, but now they're back. Suddenly Kami comes face to face with Jared Lynburn: The boy inside her head is real.

Kami and her friends start a school newspaper, and Jared and his cousin Ash sign-up for the paper, too.  Their goal is to write difficult articles through investigative journalism because Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of secrets.  There has been a ritualistic animal mutilation in the woods behind Kami's home, and one of her classmates is brutally murdered.  Plus everyone in the village discusses the Lynburns in whispers, her mother is hiding a family secret, and Kami discovers she has powers of her own.

Unspoken is the first book in The Lynburn Legacy series, and I'm looking forward to the next installment.  Book one ends in heartbreak, but I am hoping that Kami and Jared will have a chance for happiness.




Unspoken book trailer


What have you been reading lately?  Link-up!  :D

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fancy Dress Dessert Fete At The Leaky Cauldron

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Hagrid, Professor of Magical Creatures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,
Formally invites you to a 
Fancy Dress Dessert Fete
at
The Leaky Cauldron
Thursday, Eleventh of October 2012

*Regrets only by owl

Hagrid wants to share a special treat with his friends.  While in the South visiting Hogwarts exchange student Bubba Bedford-Lee, Hagrid feasted on the fanciest cuisine he has ever had in his life:

Royal Crown Cola (more commonly know as RC Cola) and Moonpies



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Welcome to The Leaky Cauldron



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These eggs were hand blown and painted by a Ukranian artist



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Poor Ron.  Hagrid seems to have invited a few of his eight-legged friends, too!



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The anatomy of a Moonpie:  cake, marshmallow filling, and icing.  This one is a vanilla Moonpie.



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The mystery cola?  RC!


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The wonderful graphics are from Halloween with Matthew Mead!



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Hagrid is also serving M&M's and thumbprint cookies for those with a less sophisticated palette.



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Yummy Moonpies!


Will you join Hagrid?  Have you ever tried an RC and a Moonpie before?

Don't forget that tomorrow is Literary Friday!

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill