Monday, January 31, 2011

January's Book Reports

The Confession by John Grisham
Action packed panic leading up to the predictable climax. One of the later Grisham style of writing without the cutting edge story telling of his earlier work. Grisham brings up the controversial discussion on the death penalty. Keith, a Kansas minister, hears the confession of a murder that a college football star was convicted of and on death row.  Keith tries to beat the clock in the Texas execution happening this week.

Dog Tags by David Rosenfelt
Another romp through the judicial system with the witty, social conscience Andy Carpenter. This time he represents a retired police dog and sets off to find the culprit(s) to clear the name of the police dogs owner. It's funny and a good story.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
Have you ever read a book so well written, the story doesn't matter? This is one of those books. You'll fall in love with Major Pettigrew on the first page, but the prose is so well done the story takes second place.  The witty Major is a traditional British stiff upper lip, trying to preserve the English standards that seem to be slipping in the 21st century.

The Prostitutes' Ball by Stephen Cannell
If you've ever watched The Rockford Files or The A-Team, you'll recognize Stephen Cannell's writing. This is the 10th Shane Scully story and unfortunaltely may be the last - and the best one yet. Stephen Cannell passed away last year and it's unknown if there was another Scully book in the vault. Scully is teamed with a new partner and this one drives him crazy, until something clicks and they get the job done - big time.   This fast paced, 3 act story is played out to it's fullest and not one to be missed.

The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer
We're in the Natuional Archives and things are happening that archivist, Beecher White, notices are not the norm. It's a race arond D.C. finding answers that (of course) only create more questions and dectecting.  The premise would have been good in the hands of Dan Brown, but Meltzer's story is slow, anit climatic, and feels like a first book when the author is just gaining lets. Not a good Meltzer book -- it's a pass.

Savage Season by Joe Lansdale
This book reviews as A Novel of Suspense -- I'm still waiting..... Hap & Leonard are a couple of Texas yahoo boys, looking to make an easy buck, but find out that it's never just that easy.  No mystery here - just a lot of hit-it-out, shoot-it-up, boring character study and story line.

The Neon Rain by James Lee Burke
The first of the Dave Robicheaux series by this age old mystery writer.  Interesting enough to read more of Burke's series. He describes the New Orleans area in detail, but if you're not familiar (and I'm not) with this area, it really means nothing but descriptive writing.  Robicheaux is a lieutenant dectective in the Big Easy, who comes with a whole bag of problems. After discovering an out-of-area drowned prostitues' body, he can't let it go until he finds out what happened and bring justice (one way or another) to the preps. 

Heaven's Prisioners by James Lee Burke
Robicheaux has quit the New Orleans police force and returned home to his Cajun roots. He's opened a bait and boat shop and married Annie (whom we met in Neon Rain). They witness the crash of a small plane in the bayou and the adventure begins.  You can take the man out of dectecting, but you can't take the dectective out of the man. Dave has been on the wagon for a year, but the action that suddenly surrounds him will not only make him fall off the wagon but crash.

The best read this month was hands down: The Prostitutes' Ball by Stephen Cannell

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Come on baby, light my fire!

Recently, while traveling and trolling different blog sites, I found this picture and a light bulb went off. The next time I have a dinner party, I'm filling the center of the table with candles in mason jars.
I love mason jars (actually old jars of any kind) and use them as our everyday-ordinary-extraordinary glassware.  They're inexpensive (read: cheap), clear substantial glass (read: they just don't break), and you know that when you need to drink a pint that's what you get (unless you go expansive and use the larger sized jars). Love this idea - thanks, blog world.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Let's Dance!

When you are listening to the radio or your tunes, is there a musical group that just makes you have to get up and dance?  BEE GEES -- when I hear anything from their repertoire I have to move, shake it up and groove with the music. I missed the era of Saturday Night Fever - but, I would have been so good on that dance floor and I'm making up for lost time -- cause, I'm DANCING-DANCING-YEA!!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Are You Listening?

A few years ago I inherited a MP3 player from my son when he upgraded to a newer version MP3 player. It's now about 7 years old, heavy and drags in the pocket, and a bit chunky compared to the latest gadgets.  But, has been my trusty morning connection to our local radio station KAFE 104.1. The poor thing has been dropped from unforgiving heights, had many different ear plugs jammed into it, taken as many plane rides as I have and I think the leather case is keeping it held all together.  Lately, the poor thing has a low battery retention, static on the radio dial, only the left ear plug had sound and I was thinking Duck Tape may be needed to keep the headphone connection - connected. 

For my birthday (last Monday - if you missed the banner notice) I bought a new, rechargeable, FM radio, music storage device --- iPod nano.  It's so tiny (a screaming 1.5" square), so light weight (I know it's clipped to my body somewhere - just can't feel it or find it for that matter) and the sound is actually in stereo and crystal clear.

I feel Uber (awesome) - Wicked (great) - Epic (cool) to be in the 21st century with my 21st century radio, 8 gigs of music/photos/clock/pedometer/podcasts device.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

changing it up

Taking a couple of pages from fellow bloggers, I'm changing things up. Since I can't find something around the house to change up, I headed (pun intended) to my blog header and I designed a couple of headers to try out for something new to greet you to my blog.
This is what my drawing board looks like:

The Old:

 Sample 1:

Sample 2:

Sample 3

I'm posting sample 3 and see if it's a fit - if it'll stay - or if I'm heading back to the drawing board.
What do you think?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A simple change...

It seems like every January I get the bug to change something in the house. Paint a wall or two. Find the perfect cabinet to house the "good" stuff. Clean out closets. Re-do the guest room, again. Move pictures to different walls. Organize something. There's really not much I'd change in our home - I love the way it looks and how well it works for us as is --- 
but, every January I get the bug to change something.

With red drapes in the dining area that matches the opposite red wall - it needed something to liven up the space.  The chair seats (from our 33 year old dining room set) matched the living room's wing chair (I did that when I bought the wing chair and new living room furniture about 10 years ago) -- now seemed boring.  So, I went fabric looking and could not find anything that was "it". A week later, while waiting for our Chinese take-out dinner, I ran next door to Tuesday Morning and found a king sized patchwork quilt that screamed "Take Me Home". It only took a couple of hours to make the new transformation -- now we've got some pattern in the room matching all that red and the other quilts I have scattered around the house.

It's still January and I'm searching again for something to change in the house....

Monday, January 24, 2011

today's my birthday :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

4 Simple Ways to Pump Up Your Scrapbook Pages

1. Pump Up Your Photos
For most, photos are the main event on the page. So why not make sure that they are presented to their fullest. Use photo editing software to change the photo: saturation, crop/enlarge, change to black & white, fix the contrast, etc. If you don't have a photo editing software, design your page around the photo(s) minimizing your embellishments.

2. Pull Out A Pen
Make your page personal and add some doodling, sketching, and/or journaling.  If you do this before you attach your photos - remember - if it doesn't turn out the way you want, it's only paper and you can just do it again. Practice - Practice - Practice.  Practice on a separate piece of paper before you put it to the keeper page.  The more comfortable you get doodling, the more you'll want to add it to your pages Journaling on your pages tells the story beyond the photo memory.

3. Mat
Matting your page or photos is a simple way to add interest and keeps the eye on the page.  It's a great way to bring in a second or third color to your page. Single, double, triple mat - play with it and have fun.

4. Color
Don't be afraid to use color. Compliment your photos, pick one or two colors from your photo and emphasize your layout by using those for your color base. Use a color wheel to get a "feel" of what works the best to showcase your photos. Adding black and/or white is easy to highlight your colors. Try a monochromatic layout and really spotlight those photos. Change your photos to black & white and pick colors of your choice to play up the photo memory. When using color, I'd suggest using up to three colors - you don't want to muddy the page. Use color for the over-all look or just an accent.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Something New

I learned how to make origami boxes just before the holidays and loved making them.  And just couldn't stop -- so I've been busy making boxes - in a variety of colors and designs. I'll add them to my booth next November. If you'd like to make an origami box, check out this simple tutorial. They're fun! They're addicting! They'll be available at Sam'Studio booth.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Really? Really?

I usually don't comment on award shows - cause I rarely watch them ... but, I did watch the Golden Globe Award Ceremony last night.  Having just seen the movie The King's Speech, I was happy to see Colin Firth win Best Actor in a drama movie (he and Geoffrey Rush were superb in their roles).

However (and that's a BIG However), the host, Ricky Gervais, was not only rude & crass but insulting & disrespectful of his audience.  Let's hope he's never invited back. And (and that's a BIG And) Chrysler needs to get a reality check with the ads they ran throughout the entire show. Did they not get the memo on our current economy status? Really? Really?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

question: What are they waiting for?

Answer: They're waiting for Sam'Studio to create some new designs, new products, new journals to be added to the Sam'Studio Etsy shop.  The wait is over -- new journals are being added daily.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Northwest Snow.....

and Northwest Snow up close and personal

Our driveway won't melt any time soon, so we are, once again, snowbound

and the winner is.......

#4 -- Would love to win! 
Congratulations basketballwannabe - your journal will be in the mail,
once we can shovel out of the snow from our mountain top. 
Enjoy keeping the written word.

There will be another drawing for one of my journals next month.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

One More Day To Enter!!!!

Leave a comment and be entered to win one of my altered journals (shown above).  It's a new year and a great time to start that journaling, list making, goal setting or whatever you'd like to do to save the written word. This cute, altered composition notebook has 100 lined pages and comes with a matching bookmark, 9.75" x 7.25" ready to fill with your words.
Leave a comment before Sunday January 9th, 2011 and the random number generator will pick a number from the comment list --- you may leave a comment once a day to pump up your chances to win and this journal may be heading your way.
Good Luck!
(winner will be posted Sunday 1-9-11)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Much of the beauty that arises in art comes from
the struggle an artist wages with his limited medium.
-Henri Matisse

If you find yourself with an hour to spare, check out the PBS program, Independent Lens: Between the Folds (available on Netflix's instant play).  It's beautiful to watch, listen to the passion of the artists and be amazed with a single piece of paper.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The 2010 Book Report's Synopsis

The Stats:
I read 37 authors
I read 89 books 
Counting August when I read only 1 book (fun stuff got in the way of reading)
- my average is 1 book every 4 days
The author most read this year: Harlan Coben with 17 books

The Top 4 New To Me Authors:
Alan Bradley
Thomas Perry
Linda Castillo
Harlan Coben

My Five Fav 2010 Top of the List Books
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
The Weed That Stings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley
Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo
Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher (this book will always be on the list)
The Reversal by Michael Connelly

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!