Friday, February 23, 2018

Literary Friday: A Wrinkle in Time

Happy Literary Friday, My Lovelies!  Recently I re-read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. I wanted to read it for a couple of reasons: I wanted to read it before the movie comes out this spring, and I wanted to read it before creating my Sketchy Reader Letter.

According to Goodreads:

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger. 

"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract".

Meg's father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

My review:

The first line of the book is in bold print in the Goodreads blurb, above.  How can one not love a book that begins with: "It was a dark and stormy night?"   There's so much to love about this story, and I must start with how much I love Meg Murray.  I can remember being able to relate to Meg in so many ways when I read it as a child (and even as an adult).  Meg is frustrated because it's been a long time since her family has heard from her father.  He's a physicist working on a secret project for the government, and Meg is not reassured that his work is "very important."  She wants him home!  

Three ancient beings, Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who, and Mrs Which aid Meg, her precocious little brother Charles Wallace, and a popular upperclassman from her high school named Calvin, "tesser" or travel through wrinkles in time.  Their goal is to reach Mr. Murray because he needs help, and the three otherworldly women think that only Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin can help him.  Guided by their knowledge of the tesseract (fifth dimension) and scriptural wisdom, the three ladies tesser them through space to odd planets filled with even more odd beings (one of my favorites is the Happy Medium who quotes from Shakespeare's The Tempest).  When the kids find Mr. Murray on an insidious planet ruled by an evil entity, it's refreshing that one of Meg's faults might be their salvation.

This is a story of good versus evil.  It's a story filled with hope and biblical wisdom.  It's also one of the most banned and challenged books of our lifetime.  A Wrinkle in Time means the world to me, and it's one of my Top Ten Books that's influenced the adult I've become.  I hope that the movie does the story justice; I hope that the producers didn't leave out any of the biblical references.  In her Newberry Medal Acceptance Speech, Madeleine L'Engle said:

"What a child doesn't realize until he is grown is that in responding to fantasy, fairy tale, and myth he is responding to what Erich Fromm calls the one universal language, the one and only language in the world that cuts across all harriers of time, place, race, and culture...The best children's books so this....They partake of the universal language, and this is why we turn to them again and again when we are children, and still again when we have grown up."

A Wrinkle in Time is that book to me, along with a handful of others like Little Women, Charlotte's Web, and The Little House series.  They shaped, comforted, and entertained me as a child, and now again as an adult.  I read these classics to my children along with some new classics of their generation:  But none hold my heart like A Wrinkle in Time because an awkward, nerdy, and clearly imperfect girl saves the day.

Below is the official US trailer for A Wrinkle in Time:

Below is an affiliate link for purchasing A Wrinkle in Time via IndieBound.

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What are your favorite childhood books?

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic Books Round-Up

Happy Thursday, My Lovelies!  Spring has sprung in Central Alabama.  Yesterday, we took the Westies for a long walk and enjoyed the sunshine and 80 degree weather.  It was like heaven in February, and I loved it!

As I promised in yesterday's post, today I have a round-up post of my favorite Rachel Ashwell books.  Below each photo I'll give a brief synopsis of why I love the book.

Published in 1996, it's easy to understand why Rachel's style in Shabby Chic has stood the test of time.  Chapter One covers diverse styles: casual beach, contemporary, traditional, and eclectic.  The featured rooms are so pretty, and there's nothing in any of these rooms I wouldn't have in our home today.  My favorite chapter in this book is Chapter Four: Fabrics. Several of Rachel's early printed linen fabrics are featured, and I would be so happy if she'd look in the archives and bring back some of them!  The last chapter, Chapter 7: Flowers, has the prettiest selection of roses I've ever seen, and I'd like to plant a few of the varieties shared in this chapter.

Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic: Treasure Hunting & Decorating Guide was first published in 1998.  This is more like a resource book to me on all things flea markets and estate sales. Rachel not only shares her best shopping tips; she also explains what to do with treasures once you've found them.  There are countless tips on cleaning, restoring, and decorating your home with your found things.  Some of her best tips are on how to clean and treat vintage fabrics.  This is a keeper because I love old linens, and I'm not as worried about buying something stained since I have this handy book.  

Shabby Chic Inspirations and Beautiful Spaces was published in 2011.  Of all the books, this one has the most diverse selection of homes and rooms.  Among some of the features of this book are Rachel's Texas Prairie property and Notting Hill apartment; Sharon and Ozzy Osborne's stunningly gorgeous dining room and foyer; and probably the most pinned tiny shabby chic cottage in the world, Sandy Foster's Catskill cottage.  

Published in 2013, Couture Prairie and Flea Market Treasures is all about Rachel's property near Round Top, Texas.  Each building on the property is featured along with the store and outbuildings.  Because The Prairie is an event venue, there's also a chapter entitled "Making magical moments."  There's also a chapter on flea market finds, and a handy reference guide for all things Round Top.  This book will be my go-to guide if I ever get to visit the Round Top Antiques Fair.

The World of Shabby Chic was published in 2015.
Mine is a little faded because it was sitting in the sun in my family room.

This is the book without the dust jacket.  Isn't it beautiful!

The World of Shabby Chic has three sections:  The Shabby Chic Story, At the Heart of Shabby Chic, and The Looks of Shabby Chic.  This book details the history and evolution of the brand, and I found it a very interesting read.  One thing that stands out in this book are the unique vignettes featuring flowers in unusual yet beautiful containers.

This is Rachel's new book, and in case you missed it, you can read my post about My Floral Affair HERE.

I love Rachel's style, and her influence can be seen in our home.

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

What I'm Reading Wednesday: My Floral Affair by Rachel Ashwell

Happy Wednesday, My Lovelies!  Today I'm reading My Floral Affair by Rachel Ashwell.  I can't seem to put this book down.  It's my favorite of her books so far, and I took advantage of the post Valentine's Day flower sales to help me produce this post.

According to Goodreads:

Discover Rachel Ashwell’s floral inspirations and the unique touch she brings to interiors in her first book dedicated to flowers, a deeply-held passion come to life.

Flowers and floral decoration are at the core of Rachel Ashwell’s world and her designs. From her showcase rose garden in California, she set out with photographer Amy Neunsinger to capture the full-blown romance of the quintessential English country house, the dramatic colorways of northern Europe, and the faded opulence of a Parisian apartment. This is the story of that magical journey, which takes us through a variety of beautiful spaces large and small, some ornate and others simple. Every aspect of floral accents is showcased, from wallpaper to fabrics, floors to ceilings, architectural details, lighting and, of course, flower arrangements, some breathtaking and some simple… but all beautiful in their own right.

My Review:

Like Rachel, I adore flowers.  I purchase fresh flowers at least weekly:  We budget for flowers monthly.  We think they're that important; flowers are welcoming, comforting, and soothing.  I love the floral arrangements in My Floral Affair: Some are over the top opulent, and some are as simple as a few blossoms on a small floral plate.  Another added bonus is in the back of the book: Rachel has included diagrams of the floral arrangements with the flowers listed so the reader can recreate the gorgeous arrangements in his or her own home.  I'm still deciding which one I'll try first, and when I create one of Rachel's arrangements I'll share it here on the blog and on Instagram.

But this book isn't only about fresh flowers: It's about anything floral that brings beauty into a space.  The floral architectural features and lighting are beautiful as is the artwork.  I enjoyed seeing so many different styles: English Country, Paris Apartment, California Contemporary, and Scandinavian.  The photography is stunning: Amy Neunsinger is a gifted photographer. She captured Rachel's vision well, and I have been so inspired by this book that I've thought of a variety of floral projects to make or install in our home.

I decided to play with the book in our kitchen.  Some days I have way too much fun!

Shabby Chic napkins

A couple of my tiny floral paintings

Shabby Chic fabric-lined blueberry crate
I usually keep my library books in it!

There are bold colors in this book as well as stark white.  I love it all!

I was inspired by some of the darker blues to place the peonies in the midnight blue flower frog vase.

Do you like Rachel's Shabby Chic style?  I love it!  If you'd like to order a copy, the book cover below is an affiliate link for IndieBound.

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Please come back tomorrow for a round-up of my favorite Rachel Ashwell books!

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill