Sunday, May 19, 2013

Painted Linen Matt: Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

The frame features a linen matt in country blue, the blue that was oh so popular in the 90's. The era of hunter green, mauve/rose and this particular hue of blue. I've heard of fabric paint, but with this strong color I would have had to go with black and I wanted a lighter color for this project. I went with my go to paint, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, using a flat craft paint brush it took a few coats to achieve a solid color.

Although this is a beautiful picture, it just isn't my taste, but I held onto the picture for the frame.

In this close up you can see how well it turned out. 
The old white colored matt goes perfectly with my daughters poster from her first gallery show. I'm quite happy with  this match up, the ornate frame goes well with her Victorian inspired art. a-round-tuit-154

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Random Book Club: Eat Cake

In Eat Cake Jeanne Ray touches the issues of the sandwich generation, adults who find themselves raising their children while simultaneously care-giving their parents. Compound this with her husband's layoff from a high paying executive position and his decision to go out on his own and restore sailboats for profit. Her mother lives with them, they have a son in college with the financial burden that implies, a teenage daughter who is in the rebellious stage, top this precariously charged household situation with Ruth's estranged bar-hopping piano player father who breaks both wrist and moves in. Did I mention that her parents can't stand each other?

How does Ruth navigate the craziness and keep her sanity, she bakes cake! She not only bakes, but she escapes through visualization,  "A place [to] feel completely safe and peaceful" when she needs to center due to immense stress: " . . . I finally closed my eyes and tried, what I wanted came to me with complete clarity. The place that I went, the place that I still go, was the warm, hollowed-out center of a Bundt cake."

Eat Cake is a story of family, forgiveness, connecting--or reconnecting, growth and recreating yourself. It's a book I remember fondly and recommend often. So many laugh out moments. Finally, the book is about dreams, and following them.

I highly recommend Eat Cake.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Random Book Club: The Peach Keeper

I love Southern fiction and Sarah Addison Allen's, The Peach Keeper was as satisfying as biting into a sun ripened summer peach. Sarah writes the story in multiple point of views, effortlessly switching from one character to the other, the story grows deep into the history of the mystical town of Wall of Waters, delving into the past of two generations, and how each generation grows from their high school image of themselves.This excerpt from the Peach Keeper will have you downloading the book, requesting it through your library or buying a copy, this, I am certain.
"The day Paxton Osgood took the box of heavy-stock, foil-lined envelopes to the post office, the ones she's had a professional calligrapher address, it began to rain so hard the air turned as white as bleached cotton. By nightfall, rivers had crested at flood stage and, for the first time since 1936, the mail couldn't be delivered. When things began to dry out, when basements were pumped free of water and branches were cleared from yards and streets, the invitations were finally delivered, but to all the wrong houses. Neighbors laughed over fences, handing the misdelivered pieces of mail to their rightful owners with comments about the crazy weather and their careless postman. The next day, an unusual number of people showed up at the doctor's office with infected paper cuts, because the envelopes had sealed, cement like, from the moisture. Later, the single-card invitations themselves seemed to hide and pop back up at random. Mrs. Jameson's invitation disappeared for two days, then reappeared in a bird's nest outside. Harper Rowley's invitation was found in the church bell tower, Mr. Kingsley's in his elderly mother's garden shed.

If anyone had been paying attention to the signs, they would have realized that air turns white when things are about to change, that paper cuts mean there's more to what's written on the page than meets the eye, and that birds are always out to protect you from things you don't see."

Willa Jackson a rebellious teen and outcast in high school has returned to her hometown after the death of her father. She has opened Au Natural Sporting Goods and Cafe, even though she herself has no interest in the outdoor lifestyle the shop caters too. She likes the down to earth patrons though, and prefers them over the local country club crowd. Where Paxton has followed the expectations of her family and society, she is struggling with who she really is; Willa Jackson is combating her old wild ways and is now trying to become a responsible adult her father and grandmother wanted her to be. Both Paxton and Willa are striving for the part the other woman has, by nature they are seeking a balance and in the process realize they are not so different after all. 

Paxton is overseeing the renovation of the mansion into an inn, the mansion, the Blue Ridge Madam, where Willa's grandmother had grown up before the family lost their money in the 1930s. To coincide with the inns grand opening Paxton is planning a gala in honor the Wall of Waters Women's Society Club's 75th anniversary. Willa is none to happy when she receives an invitation to the gala, since her grandmother, Georgie, and Paxton's grandmother Adele, were the founders of the WWWSC and there is no way she can send regrets. 

A skeleton is discovered beneath the lone peach tree by the grounds crew. With the discovery, long hidden secrets are revealed, secrets of a mysterious man who held the town captive under his spell. Secrets belonging to both of their grandmothers. As Willa and Paxton face their intertwined family history, The secret brings them together, in an attempt to protect their grandmothers. 

Some romance, a dusting of magic, and southern tropes. Settle in and enjoy.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Random Book Club: A Week in Winter

A Week in WinterStone House is the west of Ireland home of three elderly ladies until hometown girl, Chicky Starr, returns to Stoneybridge and buys the house to turn it into a hotel. The townsfolk think she is crazy because it is not a great tourist area and they expect her to fail. This book follows the stories of the guest from the opening week. Each guest has a problem or a tragedy in their lives and most of them are sorted out amid the bucolic countryside and Atlantic waves that crash on the shore near Stone House. An easy, absorbing "listen" focused on memorable characters and their modern day dilemmas around love, family, friends and work. Maeve Binchy makes you care about each of them and her simple style of writing means your not distracted from their stories. She writes better about community and forgiveness than any other author I know and with humor that is Irish through and through.

The world has lost a great author, this is Maeve's last novel, completed just before her death. 

Have you read A Week in Winter? Any memorable scenes? Did you relate to any of the characters?