Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ahhhh Iowa City!

My daughter wanted to go visit her boyfriend. She's a junior in High School and he just started his first year at the University of Iowa.

We live about an hour and half away from there in a pretty tiny little town

and I've never really ever been there let alone driven there.

And may I add driving isn't one of my favorite things anyway...

But I felt bad for there's this kickin little Indie bookstore I've read about and really wanted to find as long as we were there. :)

I don't have a gps, but I do have google maps (yay for satellite view) and pretty good internal sense of direction.
I'm not a fan of interstate 80 so we took backroads getting there which was beautiful and didnt take too much longer, except it's harvest and we got slowed down a couple of times for farm stuff. But not bad.

Once we got in town... I drove right to his dorm. No problem. It was ridiculously easy...made even easier since Iowa played at Ann Arbor. I wouldn't go near there on a home game day. (that's a way lot of people!)

So I dropped her off, made her boyfriend pinky swear that he would take care of her and my younger daughter and I were off to find

Prairie lights... Took a tinie tiny bit of looking but found a parking place pretty close and really enjoyed looking around this amazing downtown area!! Even the sidewalks had points of interest... dumb me didn't take the camera, so I'm having to find pics on the interwebs, and not very well.

And then vioula ... Praire Lights...just on the other side of the most interesting sounding Dublin Undergroud. (may go back on girls night out and check that place out). And it was cool!! 3 1/2 floors of books, cool people that worked there, lots of patrons. I was IN MY ELEMENT!!! Part of me wondered what the job market in Iowa City was like for Animal Nutrition Tech Support.

I came out with a local Independent Press Publication by Timothy Fay, Anamosa, Iowa called The Wapsipinicon Almanac...full of short stories and essasy etc. Love this little magazine. And a really inexpensive copy of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle...

Did you catch the part where I asked about Animal Nutrition... this book is fated for me, PLUS I just watched last Thursday the Temple Grandin Story... AH. MAY. ZING! So the Sinclair book was Supposed to be mine and at 3 bucks I would have no reason to say no.

I can't wait to go back.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Autumn Aesthetics

I know fall isn't for another couple of weeks - technically - but I'm not the only one who was woe-ed by cool evenings and crisper mornings.
 What do you think... I love my dusty purple and cream flowers, do they work ok for fall?
I don't have a ton of fall things... so I increased my collection a bit today.

 I found these great plates, both the basket weave and the leaves, at Super Dollar. So yes they were only a dollar a piece. For less than $10.00 I put this together.

My napkins and rings from last weeks yard sale work perfect again!

The finials work nicely too! I'm going to deck them out in orange and black ribbons for Halloween.

My Column has donned it fall accessories

As always with my house.... it's a work in progress :)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hello I'm Laura and I"m a rummageaholic!

I think I have a problem...

last night my daughter and her friend that was spending the night wanted to go to Dollar General for cheap energy drinks. So off we went... and I saw a yard sale sign and my mind went "lets go lets go lets go lets go!" and I told myself 'no no no no'

and then promptly drove to the movie store instead of Dollar General and got out of the car and the kids were laughing at me... 'uh mom? why are we at the movie store?' and I was like... Uh oh...this isn't where I was going. :)

Besides I had already been to one that evening and I made myself wait for the others until this morning. There were only 2 but one was purty good!!

Last night I got this ...

I just love the colors!! Not sure where I'm going to put it...

Then this morning...

These beautiful dresses were $4.00 each!! I thought that was very VERY resonable!!
One for each angel!!

The girls are always required to wear black slacks for concert band, chorus, drama competitions, speech, etc... We have a couple pair but these were .50Cents and in youngest angel's size!!

This guy was only .50 cents too

I put him here under the yardsale basket filled with the yard sale fruit...

Then on to the next sale...
I like this sale a lot!

First thing I saw practically I picked up!

Finials 2 for $1.00... LOVE them! Not sure where I'll put these... hmmmm.

Couldn't resist these snack trays... cool sage green with distressed tan/brown accents... 2 for $3.00 and once again, not sure where I'm going to put these either.

Did I mention everything at this sale was 1/2 price today? Wow!! :)

Lots of nice clothes too.. Oldest Angel (who is just starting to love yard sales) found this super soft hoodie (yes it says Poopy's... it's ..well... this place. Restaurant, biker bar, tattoo parlor, family friendly.. I know.. but it really is. Go figure) and the distressed Z. Cavarricci blazer 2 for 1.50.

There were a couple other things I saw there that played on my mind so in about 1/2 an hour after we left I called my mom and we went back :)

For these... I don't know what the heck I was thinking leaving them lay there in the first place.. I mean really this was a no brainer!!  But I didn't think I had anything to match...

8 napkins 6 rings - all never used!! $1.50
Told ya it should have been a no brainer!! Would you have let them lay there and walk away!! I simply can't believe they were there when I got back.

Once I got home I put the yard sale napkins and rings with my yard sale everyday dishes and low and behold....

I was pretty pumped!! It looks like they should have been sold as coordinates!

So while I was there at the sale I thought about upcoming fall decorating and wondered why I passed up these...
The stripped pillar candle is the new addition and the colors go perfect with everything in my room! Especially for fall.

and then these...

 The brown candle and the 'marbled' cream colored candle... more and more white/cream is creeping into my decorating!!
These guys were a .25 cents each.

I'm going to have some fun with these...
I hadn't even noticed these before. I whole baggie full of black sign numbers and letters. I'm sure there are craft projects floating around the blogs where I can get inspired to use these puppies!! And feel free to let me know if you have an idea right now!

An impulse buy, but I'd learned my lesson on passing stuff up!
As I was waiting for my Mom to buy her candles (nice rust colored tapers) I snatched this off a display table.. I had looked at it 3 times. Ditto 3 as they say and Nine West for 1.50 is pretty easy to take. Especially since, at 45, I am taking 2 college classes to finish up my Associates and then go on to get my Bachelors. I needed a 'grown up' looking book bag.

I think that's it today... like Queen of Fifty Cents, I usually see some sweet critters at the sales and today this lady's son had a black poodle tucked in his jacket, and I wished I would have brought my camera!

I think I need a nap!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A sweet little review

I just finished The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. And I have no idea what I think of it.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, I'll give a quick synopsis this time. (which I usually dont because I'm too anxious to get to my opinion - my 'take' on a book). So I'm going to 'borrow' the synopsis from the Flavia de Luce website - she's the protagonist of this story.

Great literary crime detectives aren’t always born; they’re sometimes discovered, blindfolded and tied up in a dark closet by their nasty older sisters. Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce’s bitter home life and vicious sibling war inspires her solitary diversions and “strange talents” tinkering with the chemistry set in the laboratory of their inherited Victorian house, plotting sleuth-like vengeance on Ophelia (17) and Daphne (13), and delving into the forbidden past of her taciturn, widowed father, Colonel de Luce. It comes as no surprise, then, that the material for her next scientific investigation will be the mysterious corpse that she uncovers in the cucumber patch. Fearless and darkly imaginative, Flavia hurries to solve the murder and acquit her father of suspicion. Following the lead of its clever protagonist, Sweetness is entirely inventive, fast-paced, and quick-witted, with tongue-in-cheek humour that derides the macabre seriousness of subject.
Alan Bradley plants the story deep into the setting of 1950s England, with a portrait of an eccentric home life that is all too wickedly familiar. The story’s twists are supported by the time and place as well as the unusual interests of the characters which range from stamp-collecting to making poisons all of which are highly researched and ingeniously incorporated.

So I kind of do know what I think of it... at the moment. And my first impression is that this wasn't my favorite book, but then when I break it down it SHOULD be one of my favorites. This book had everything a good book, nay... a favorite book should have!

Let's start with the writing. Never once was I jolted out of my, for lack of a better phrase, visit to this story, by hack writing, weak sentences or trite descriptions! Characters were multi-faceted and rather unpredictable.

The setting was wonderful! England in the 50's. What a treat!

The plot was fun, flowed well, didn't veer into the totally unforeseen and tied up as a good mystery should almost to the point where I expected to hear "and I would have gotten away with to if it weren't for that meddling kid!"

But right now, there were annoyances... Flavia being my first and foremost. I really had a hard time buying this chick - little chick - she's 11. I have girls. I have precocious girls. I have intelligent precocious girls. If Flavia were American in a today's setting... she'd be a home schooled kid (no offense to home schooling parents) and by that I mean in the arrogant, socially awkward way some of them have... you know... commonly referred to as the 'home-schooled vibe'.

My other annoyance would be a spoiler so I will not include it specifically, only to say... I have said before I don't usually like "neat package" stories and this one was too much just that.

Still, I get the feeling the memory of this book will grow on me. I'll look back and remember this book and know that it was better than I gave it credit for. And I'll wonder what I was thinking that I didn't score it higher. And I may even come back and up it's rating.

In the meantime... I think I'll go make a Cheesecake to celebrate this book. It's the closest thing I have to a custard pie.


I had this book on my list for my summer reading challenge

A Southern Daydreamer Reads
Now I have a problem... the last book on my list isn't available at our local library. And I have so many books here to read that I can't choose!!! Cormick McCarthy - All the Pretty Horses, Angelas's Ashes, Memoirs of a Geisha, Wally Lamb, and about 20 others just here in the living room! Help! What to do?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Un-Guilty Pleasure - Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Last winter our local library posted their winter book club list. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was one of the books on the list. I had seen ti around but hadn't really heard much about it, but the title sure did draw me in.

I had hoped to join in on this event but unfortunately the meeting nights coincided with a night I had a church board meeting so I wasn't able to.

I kept the book in mind however,

Then I began blogging regularly and found the literary blogs and this book kept popping up.

So there has been myriad of hype around about this book and I'm afraid I'm usually disappointed when they don't live up to their press....

But ohhhhh...I am so happy to report...not in this case....

It lived up to it. And then some.

I'm not much on synopsis in my reviews. I prefer to talk about what I liked..or didn't. So they are really more like opinions ;)

First of all. I loved the format. A veritable tribute to the dieing  art of letter writing. I also fell for each and every character. They were so adorable!! I loved the sense of community that was instant and only grew stronger through out the book. Don't we all seek that level of not only acceptance but .... ok... popularity???

Mary Ann Shaffer crafted this story so seamlessly!! She didn't shove details down your throat, she understood 'show don't tell' and the emotion was deeper and stronger for it!!

I love England and was happy to learn about Guernsey and of course now would love to go there!! The cottages, the mansion. The harbor and the channel.

The era was the reality of the book. And though this was a light-hearted FUN book, episodes of the Occupation of this utopia by the Germans were handled frankly. The underlying brutality WAS there, but without any gratuitous detail. And the effects were made plain and understandable and BECAME the true membership of the society. And I so very much appreciate that!!

My favorite aspect... of course... the books. And most of all the introduction to the world of reading to folks who may never have stopped to find out about the pleasures of good stories. It's like seeing someone try lobster for the first time.. The look on their face of unexpected joy! followed by unbelief that such a thing could exist without them having known about it!! The unfairness of the time wasted without it!! ;) Books are that way... THIS book was that way for me!!

Ok so it was a little bit neat... and I usually don't like "neat" stories... They tend to be a little Pollyanna to me when I've seen enough to know life isn't very often "neat'.

That little nitpik was the ONLY thing that wasn't perfect about this book.

I'm so happy I read this book. I'm so happy I got to loan it out right away so I will have someone to talk to about this book!!

 Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was like a delicious gourmet desert. Only you will never regret reading it.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Yard Sale Jackpot!!

It's mornings like this that will make me yearn for summer all winter long. GREAT yard sales today and I had so much fun!!

First up a sale I've visited before. This lady and her girls are prolific readers and she has permanent bookcases in her garage..the best news is the selection DOES change so it's always fun to go!

Only 3 of these - oh well... pair and spare! Aren't they cute!
Then I turned around and saw this set $3.00 for the set. My mother has a service for 24 of Pfaltzgraff Heritage..but not these pieces!! Score! Christmas gifts!!

This little cutie was in the free box. I'll probably give it a new coat of cream spray paint, but it's really already in very nice shape.

Have been looking for shells to add to my summer table all August :) All started with the starfish candle. .50 for all three

But these were why I went... I meant it when I said this lady has books! I picked up the Nicholas Sparks for .50 even though it said a buck and A Thousand Acres... and she threw the Cat Who Talked To Ghosts in for free.

The other 2 books I got later...when I went BACK to the sale with my Mom. I had seen a book but passed it up, thinking... well I don't know what I was I went back for....

I paid the $4.00 but hey it's Julia!

While I was waiting for mom who was looking around I found this wonderful fork... It's Manor Plate Triple I.S. Rosedale from about 1933. I found some more on eBay so I have hopes of adding to it... sorry the photo is a bit blurry. Silly novice ;)

On to the next sale...
T-shirts 1 local team one... well... self-explanitory.. Rockin the Big 10!!  for .50cest each and like new

I also got this basket... as a project. I always need storage...out of sigt storage. Think I may paint it black. What do you thnk? There are 2 Christmas presents hiding in side but I can't show them here... prying eyes :)

And as I was checking out... I saw this little plant stand and had to have it... $2.00 worth of OH YEAH!

Consulted the paper and off to the next sale... turned out to be a lady that goes to my church. :)

Did anybody Rooster Party last week with Bella Vista? It was AMAZING!! Go here and you can still see all the awesomeness! Well I'm getting ready for NEXT year :) For .50

Pretty sure he's a reproduction, but at $1.00 I liked him :)

My favorite find at this sale... all this artificial fruit to use in displays or if I ever get a cloche for ...$3.00. I was happy!

Off to the next stop...only 1 thing

This beautiful set, round table topper, oblong dresser scarf, 2 hankie box doilies for a buck
And look at the work...hand-stiched with love and perfection. Good pieces with no stains!

Crochet edges and sooo many little french knots and all of them perfect :)

Then off to the local 2nd hand store...

Despite not having touched the projects from last years yard sales, I got this as a project too... I have specific plans :) It was originally 5.00 but a red x mean 1/2 price. It is a very sturdy tray!

Found this doily for fall, Valentines day and/or Christmas for a dollar.

I drink creamer in my coffee... no more ugly plastic bottle out :)

and 2 absolutely pristine plump pillows! Mine here are such junk and I never think of replacing them. These were $4.00 each.... the kitten we had...that's of the orphans we raised from a week old :)

I'd been eyeing this for a few weeks...see the red this for $1.50. Works in my bedroom nicely!

Then I remembered our wonderful little gift store would have some cute things and maybe on sale...

This guy wasn't on sale but he's so perfect for Aunt who collects bottles that I had to have SCORE another Christmas gift! :)

And then I found this...same story...can't tell ya because it's a gift too! So all in all I managed to get gifts for 5 people!! Wowee!

Oh and last night I got this...technically not at a yard sale...but close! I did buy it out of a driveway!!
This is for my daughters and the taxi service of Mom is out of service!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hope you had fun yard saleing with me!! It was such a memorable day!!

Linking to Today's Thrifty Treasures because I have as much fun looking at the great stuff you find as finding stuff myself!