Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Selection for The Book Bunch

Hello Everybody! I am back! I hope you are having a wonderful 2013! Turned cold here, on Saturday with a touch of sleet.  Beef Stew was on the menu for dinner.  I had a cozy night at home, watching the Miss America Pageant! (Does anyone remember when the pageant was held in September?)

Since, this year... for me at least... is all about spending fun times with family and friends.  I thought I would share with you one of my greatest pleasures!  It is Reading!!!

I am a member of two book clubs!  One of the book clubs, "The Book Bunch", requires you to do the homework...you know...READ THE BOOK, while the other book club, "The Criterion Book Club", lets you show up, enjoy a lovely lunch and have the book presented to you.  It requires NO READING! Sometimes, the monthly speaker will come dress as a character in a book, or as a historical figure, such as Eleanor Roosevelt or Anne Lindbergh.

Today, I want to share with you "The Book Bunch".  We have been meeting since 2001. There are five of us, whom we consider to be original members. The monthly meetings average around 14 people. We have had as many as18 people in attendance.  This past Saturday, we had 12 participants.


They are the nicest women!

The Book Bunch meets on the second Saturday of each month at the Edmond Public Library. 



 At the entrance of the Edmond Library is the "Sit-by-Me" Statue


I have read some great books in this group, which I would have never selected on my own. These include "The Elegance of the HedgeHog" by Muriel Barbery (I loved the 12-year-old in this book).  "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett (this book was covered in both book clubs). Last year I selected, "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein (we spent most of the time, talking about the joy that our pets add to our lives)....These are a few recent selections, I could go on and on...since I have 12 years of monthly readings with a log of every book we have read.

Each member selects the book of her choice for an assigned month.  The individual member makes sure there are at least six copies of their book choice in the library, which allows the members to have the opportunity to read the book in time for the meeting.   Also, "The Book Bunch" must notify the library of our reading choices at least four months in advance so that information can be published in Library's Monthly Calendar.

Each member can choose whatever she wants the group to read.  When it is a member's turn to have her book selection read, that individual leads the discussion, and is responsible for discussion questions. Questions can originate from discussion questions available on-line (which is what I use when it is my turn), or the  monthly leader can write discussion questions. Since there were no discussion questions on-line for this month's book, Phyllis, our discussion leader for January, created all of the questions.  

Saturday, "The Book Bunch" discussed  "This Bright River" by Patrick Somerville.  (you can go to his website by clicking on the author's name).



This book was published in June 2012.  The reviews on this book  have been a range from very positive to "throw it in the river"!!

The Amazon Book Description states:

Lauren Sheehan's career in medicine came to a halt after a sequence of violent events abroad. Now she's back in the safest place she knows--St. Helens, Wisconsin--cut off from career, friendship, and romance.

Ben Hanson's aimless life bottomed out when he went to prison. But after his release, a surprising offer from his father draws him home. In Wisconsin, he finds his family fractured, still unable to face the truth behind his troubled cousin's death a decade earlier.

As Lauren cautiously expands her world and Ben tries to unravel the mysteries of his family and himself, their paths intersect. Could each be exactly what the other needs?

A compelling family drama and a surprising love story, This Bright River confirms Patrick Somerville's status as one of the most exciting young writers at work today.


"This Bright River" prologue starts with a murder mystery.  The book twist and turns throughout; with long descriptions. You find yourself wanting to scream, Enough! ...what about the Murder!.  In my opinion, "The Book Bunch" spent the majority of the time, discussing the possible dark and family dynamics of the main characters, reconstruction of different comments and situations of the main characters.  Time was spent discussing whether we came up with the same conclusions regarding the open-ended situations that remained, when the book ended.  This book was certainly not a favorite of mine.  It does, however, hangs with the reader after, and should be discussed aloud with others.

Phyllis' final discussion question followed this statement, " I decided to read this book because the original review in the New York Times was quite negative (July 1, 2012 by Janet Maslin). Ms. Maslin had arrived at an incorrect conclusion regarding who was attacked in the prologue. A retraction was written on July 4, 2012 with the acknowledgement of her mistake.  What influences your choice of reading material?"

I think Phyllis' final sentence is the best to end this post! 

What influences your choice of reading material?  Is it a book your friends are talking about?  Is it a review you saw or heard through the news media?  Is it a book that was listed on the annual top book lists for the past year?

Please share, I would love to know!  Your comments really Make My Day!


Friday, January 4, 2013

4 Great Spices and Brie Cheese



Happy New Year Everyone!  We had a great Christmas and New Year!

This year I am looking forward to creating more fun time with family and friends with lots of laughter without feeling overwhelmed over what to serve, or how my house looks!  Some of the best memories in our lives are created unexpectedly!

Therefore, I want to start the New Year with a quick entertainment recipe for the expected or unexpected guests!

Brie Cheese!  It is such a perfect cheese.  Brie goes with fruit, nuts, breads, etc. and it can be served in various ways such as plain at room temperature or wrapped in pastry and baked with different toppings and served with a nice glass of wine or beverage of your choice.

Here's the:


source: lindasfeedback.wordpress.com

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


source: snapguide.com

Measure one teaspoon each of Cracked Pepper, Rosemary, Cumin Seeds and Pepper Flakes.




 Spread the spices on a cutting board, plate, or any flat surface.  I used a plate.



Then, remove a slice of Brie from the cheese wheel. Divide the slice of Brie with a knife into equal parts and lightly press the Brie slices into the spices. 




Place the spicy brie in an oven safe dish and transfer the dish to the preheated oven.




Bake until the Brie cheese begins to melt. (takes about 5 minutes depending on the thickness of your slices).



Looks delicious right?

Serve the warm Brie with crackers, breads, nuts and fruits.  You can choose whatever you love to serve with Brie Cheese.




Mr C and I love this Spicy Brie with soup and salad, when it is just the two of us for dinner or just with crackers and slices of crusty french bread, while watching a football game.

This simple recipe offers great presentation, delicious, and is SOO EASY!  It allows for more time to make memorable 2013 moments!

ENJOY!

Looking forward to sharing more of my WandaFul Wonders in 2013 with you!

Do you have any easy recipes you use when you have expected or unexpected guests?
Please share!

As you know, I love your comments!

Happy New Year to You and Your Families!











Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lets Chip It, Baby!

Hello Folks!

I hope you are having a great week!  I went to my aquatic aerobic class this morning and finished little odds-and-ins that needed to be taken care of like return phone calls, filing, and working on my “To Do” list.

Now, to what I have wanted to do for quite a while!  Since, Sophie, our exchange student, went home in June, it is time to tranform her bedroom back into a guest bedroom.  I do not want to go back to the "Grandma's Bedroom Room Look" in the guest bedroom. (even if I am ENVIOUS of all my friends who are Grandmas, now!)

Back in June, I purchased this striped quit to use in the room at TJ Maxx. The colors are totally different from the red and brown room I used before Sophie and the purple, teal and brown used during Sophie visit.

Quilt

A couple of days later, I managed to go to a local fabric store and found this material to go with the quilt.

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This material just cried out for me to take it home. I loved the graphic design print and the colors!  I thought with the curtains made in this print or at least trimmed in this print with a couple of accent pillows (also, made out of the same print) on the bed and the chair, the room (with the right paint color on the walls) just might pull together for a new contemporary lighter look.

Now, here it is August and I need to get moving on this room.  I thought about painting the bed, dresser, and chest-a-drawers.  Mr. C did not like that idea and I agree I can always go back and paint furniture. However, I do have this gold chair, I can paint and try my hand at upholstering. You can see where Diablo, the cat, has used the chair as a scratching board!  BAD CAT!

Gold Chair

For those people who know me well, don’t you dare laugh at me for even thinking about upholstering this chair!  If I can try to do it! YOU CAN TOO!

Everyone has been going to Lets Chip it by Sherwin Williams, so I did.  I love it!  You just up load your photo and "Lets Chip It" will give several choices of paint to choose from and you can save it to your computer.

Here is what "Lets Chip It" offered on the quilt photo.

bedrm quilt chip1


Then I laid the curtain material swatch on top of the quilt. Here are the choices "Lets Chip IT" gave for quilt and the curtain swatch, together.

 q cs 02

I am Very Excited over this tool, Lets Chip It by Sherwin Williams!  Try it!  I think you will love it too!  It has given me several choices that I can paint on the walls and consider for the chair. Plus, you can chip colors from your kids art.  NOW, I need to shop for a coordinating fabric for the chair!

Are you getting ready to redo a room?  Paint the walls? Paint the furniture? Pick out new fabric or flooring?  It takes time and imagination to pull a room together.  Honestly, I do not think any of my rooms are pulled together.  Sometimes, I think I have too many different looks in one room (like a person's short attention span).
  
Which is me!

Wishing you a blessed week!  

Thank you for following my adventures! All of your comments on Face Book and on my blog means so much to me!  

Wanda

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Stencil "C" Pillow

Hello Friends,

Earlier this week, I shared with you my three-year chair project that I finished last Saturday Morning.  Today, I would like to share with you how I made the initial "C" pillow to go on the chair. 

Also, I used Microsoft Windows Live Writer for the first time to write this post, (I know I am a little late to the game, but I liked it). I accidently published the post instead of moving it to blogger prior to it being finished.  If you saw the first post, ignore it, although I understand it is on the internet FOREVER!

Since the chair was going to Tom’s house, I had to make sure the pillow was masculine. Tom HATES decorative pillows!  So, the only thing I could thing of was a monogram “C” using the popular “Stencil” font . 

I decided I would use the pillow form from one of the old pillows I had purchased at “Target”. (I know all of you know how to pronounce “Tar-Zhay” the French Way.)


Pretty Darn Simple! Right? WRONG!  When I opened one side of the pillow to pull the form out, I realized the casing for the pillow stuffing was attached to the pillow.  (Maybe, all of you knew this, but not me!)


See! Then, I proceeded to open all four sides.  When I finally opened the pillow, this is what I found!


A little stuffing had been sewn into the seam line. I put aside all the stuffing and used the pillow as a pattern.  I used  painter drop cloth (left over from another project) for the pillow.


I thought the pillow was too large for the chair.  So, I measured 1 1/2”  around and marked the casing to cut the casing for the smaller pillow. Then I used the smaller casing as a pattern and cut the drop cloth material (already cut out) smaller.  I sewed the casing and put all the stuffing inside and sewed up the casing.

Now, Finally, I had to figure out the size of the Stencil to go on the pillow.  I went to the “Word” program and opened a blank document.  I typed a capital ‘C” on the page.  Next I highlighted the “C” and chose the “Stencil Font”.  I clicked the the font increase size button to make the “C” as large as I needed and then printed the pattern out on the computer. (you can always take your chosen letter and increase the size with a copier, our copier is on the blink!)

I realized I was out of Freezer Paper.  Mr. C, being the sweet man that he is, went to the store and picked up freezer paper for me.


While Mr. C was at the store, I taped the "C" onto a card board box lid.  When he returned with the freezer paper, I taped the freezer paper (wax side down) on top of the "C".  (you can see my tape came undone.)




I used a mechanical pencil (you can use the old fashion type pencil) to trace the “C” on to the freezer paper. Guess where the cardboard box lid came from? (By the way, I am not being paid to promote “Office Depot”…it is what I had in the garage.


After tracing the “C”, I used an exacta knife to cut the stencil.


Now, here comes the fun part.  I ironed the stencil (wax side down) onto the front pillow side.  The wax side of the freezer paper really sticks to the cloth!


I pulled out my almost 20 year old black acrylic paint and started sponging on the paint.


I hung the stencil pillow front outside to dry. With our weather in Oklahoma, it dried pretty quick!  I sewed the front and back sides together, leaving an opening for the pillow form on one side.  I turned the pillow inside out, put the form inside the pillow, and hand-sewed the open end (you can use a sewing machine to close the pillow).

Here is the PILLOW sitting on the chair at Tom’s Front Porch.  The freezer paper kept the outline of the “C” crisp.


I had never used Freezer Paper for a stencil.  There are plenty of tutorials on stencil making in Blog land.  I just wanted to try this thrifty idea! This project would have been faster,  had I used the copy machine to increase the font size or ventured to Hobby Lobby to purchase a stencil, but then I would not have had as much fun as I did on Saturday!

Have you used any kind of stencil around your house?  I know wall Stencils are famous right now!

This week I am going to party at the following places:



Once again, I want to say a “BIG” Thank you for following my adventures!  I love LOVE your comments on the post directly and on Face book. 

Wishing you a great weekend!

Wanda

Painted Front Porch Chair





HI Y’all!
This past Saturday Morning, I was up and moving around by 6:15 am!  After days of HOT weather, the morning was beautiful outside.  I took my "Free Chair" which had been sitting in my garage waiting for attention for THREE YEARS!   Yes, this is the same chair that I mentioned back in 2011, that I was going to finish within the next month to share with you!  TIME FLIES is my only excuse for not finishing the chair earlier.
Here is how the chair looked in 2011

Free Chair

During this past school year, several times, I ventured out to the garage and spray painted the chair with “Valspar Gloss Exotic Sea” and sanded down the chair in different spots.
So, on Saturday Morning, I used a damp cloth to get all the dust off of the chair.


DSC_0519

A closer look at the chair seat.  You can see a couple of sanded marks on the chair legs.

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I wiped Ralph Lauren’s Tobacco Glaze all over the chair.


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I still love this glaze.  I know most people are now using dark wax to enrich the color of furniture. It dries quickly and I already had it in the garage.
Later in the morning, the temperature was rising outside.  I brought the chair inside and placed it in on my kitchen island. I put two coats of Annie Sloan’s Clear soft wax on the chair.

DSC_0526

Here is the finished chair on my front porch prior to carrying it to Tom’s House.  With his permission, of course.

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A quick look at the backside of the Chair.

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Here is the chair on Tom’s front porch.  See the pillow?  I made it Saturday afternoon.  I plan on sharing how I did that later this week.

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One more photo to show the final project completed.

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What do you think?  Notice the little planter on the porch.  That was a garage sale find!

This is what I did on Saturday!  What did you do on Saturday?  Did you finish any projects that has been hanging around your house for a couple of years like me?

Thank you for your comments and following me on my adventures!  Wishing you a great week!

Wanda

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mackinac Island Thrifty Shopping

Hello.
Can you believe it?  Yes, the title is correct! YOU can go THRIFT shopping on the Mackinac Island.


See!




We stayed at the Grand Hotel on the Island for two nights.  Very Pretty! 


ANY HOO!  While we were walking around with our two new BFF from Maine.  Peggy, from Maine, wanted to go to the Grand Hotel Attic Shop.  This shop is located in an area of little shops directly below the hotel.  When the four of us walked in, lo and behold, there were two more women from our tour, who were also shopping!


Here is a photo of our crowd (except myself and Jane) looking around in the shop.



You can see there are a lot of goodies to view!

Here are a few shots of the merchandise available.  (Lucky you... to get to see it, because the sales lady wanted to know why would I be taking photos....No, I did not explain about the blog... only  that I was practicing with my new "used" camera). I can see how it would be scary wondering why I was taken pictures, you never know what people have on their mind.


I like the plant pots, and they were reasonable priced.  Sorry, I can't remember how much.  I remember thinking if I buy the two green ones, I will have to shipped them home.


Table cloths from the Grand Hotel. 


Sheets were available, along with comfort tops. 


I liked these candle holders.  I can think of so many ways to use these throughout the year.

The shop had various items for sale such as magazines, plates, glasses, placemats, lamp, etc. at different price points.

Sooo, remember when you go to the Macinac Island, you can go thrift shopping at the Grand Hotel Attic.

Once again, thank you for following my adventures!  I know several of you like to thrift shop when vacationing!! Please share any of your great finds you have purchased while on vacation.

Wishing you a great day!

Wanda


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Container Gardens



Hello Friends,


It is always sooo nice to get away and it is always sooo nice to return home! This year my Aunt Carolyn and I traveled on the Collette Vacations Mackinac Island Tour.  The tour started in the Windy City, Chicago Illinois.  Our hotel was a short block from Michigan Avenue, the famous Magnificent Mile of shopping.


While we were walking along Michigan Avenue, it was very HOT and HUMID! I was inspired by the beautiful container gardens along the way which seemed to reflect coolness in temperature and looks.


What is the definition of a container garden?  Well, I (brilliant me) looked it up. According to Dictionary.com, it is a noun and "a collection of pots or other receptacles containing soil for growing plants out of doors".  Well "other receptacles" sure do describe the lovely sites I saw on our walk.  I am inspired to do something with my shade area under a cluster of trees in my back yard.


In my mind's eye, I see container gardening not only small but large as the following examples will show.


I love the green grass surrounding the colored flowers and the round containers within the larger container.



I like how the vines drape over the concrete container with the tall plants mixed with the different colored flowers.




Look how lush the red plants are surrounded by the soothing greenery and the pink petal flowers blanket.




I think kids would love to see the dragon on the Mile!







This is my favorite!  I love the total layout of the garden with the brilliant colors, the elephant ear plants, with the small blue container with the pop of yellow.  I want this under the cluster of trees in my back yard!


Thank you for following my adventure, today.  Hope you were inspired as much as I was by the LARGE container gardens as I was.  Do you have a container garden?  Is it located in the sun or shade?


Have a great week!


Wanda