Tuesday, January 22, 2019

A New Home Decor Project

These books need a home!

Happy Tuesday, My Lovelies!  What have y'all been up to?  I know some of y'all are up to your knees in snow!  No snow around here, although we might get snow flurries Thursday.  It has been cold here yesterday and today, so I stayed inside and started a project I wanted to do last year.

Remember when I wanted to redo Shanley Belle's bedroom?  I'm finally doing it!  First job:  Paint the room!

I chose Behr's Polar Bear White because it's a warm white.  I painted over pink which is a hard color to cover.  I had to paint two coats using their Marquee paint.

Shanley Belle is a bibliophile, and although most of her books are in Baton Rouge, she left many here in Birmingham.  There is a long wall in her room (one of the few long walls in our home) that connects to the dormer window, and this wall will be the location of new shelving.

While reading the February 2019 edition of Better Homes and Garden, I was inspired by the bookshelves below:

This is how I want Mr. Sketchy Reader to build the shelving.

Shanley's room is my least favorite in our home due to the sloping ceiling and lack of natural light.  I think that she will love the improvements next time she comes home for a visit.

Reminder:  Friday we will discuss our first book of 2019 based on The Heroine's Bookshelf!

January's selection is Pride and Prejudice.

I hope you will join me Friday while we discuss the book!  

I might not blog much the rest of the week because I have a museum outing on Wednesday, and I'll be working on Shanley's room.

Wherever you are...stay warm!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Friday, January 18, 2019

Literary Friday: The Story of Arthur Truluv

Happy Literary Friday, My Lovelies!  Recently I read The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg.  Berg is one of my go-to writers because her stories usually contain quirky characters who somehow meet to form families of choice.  Plus, I've never been disappointed by any of her books.  I received the sequel to this book The Night of Miracles for Christmas.

I was shocked when I realized that I've never posted nor reviewed any of her novels before!  One day I should write a round-up post featuring her books, but in the meantime here are three others I highly recommend:

We Are All Welcome Here
Open House
The Year of Pleasures

I have reread The Year of Pleasures several times!  

According to Goodreads:

A moving novel about three people who find their way back from loss and loneliness to a different kind of happiness. Arthur, a widow, meets Maddy, a troubled teenage girl who is avoiding school by hiding out at the cemetery, where Arthur goes every day for lunch to have imaginary conversations with his late wife, and think about the lives of others. The two strike up a friendship that draws them out of isolation. Maddy gives Arthur the name Truluv, for his loving and positive responses to every outrageous thing she says or does. With Arthur’s nosy neighbor Lucille, they create a loving and unconventional family, proving that life’s most precious moments are sweeter when shared.

My Review:

This is definitely a character-driven novel, although the plot is also very entertaining.  I love how Arthur immediately takes a liking to Maddy and vice-versa, especially since they meet in a cemetery under unusual circumstances. Their friendship brings out the best in each other, and it opens their eyes to other opportunities.  Maddy's backstory is so pitiful: Her mother died during childbirth, and her father has never stopped grieving.  Arthur takes Maddy into his home when she needs the support and guidance of an adult most.

Lucille is Arthur's neighbor and busybody.  Everyone needs a Lucille in her life because she's that awesome!  Lucille experiences a tragedy during the course of the novel, but Arthur helps her through it, and then she moves across the street to live with Arthur and Maddy.  Maddy is not happy with the situation at first because Lucille is definitely an acquired taste, but soon Maddy realizes that Lucille is a valuable advocate.

This is such a sweet and charming story.  It made me think about the lonely people in our community, and how each Sunday we pray for the lonely in church.  I love stories about characters who create their own families in spite of previous hurts, disappointments, and tragic events. These three characters stay with you long after the last page, and I can't wait to start The Night of Miracles in a week or two.

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Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Big Mama's Pound Cake

Happy Thursday, My Lovelies!  How is your week so far?  I've gotten a lot of boring stuff done...like cleaning out drawers and closets.  But I did bake my grandmother's pound cake because I saw Martha Stewart's recipe for Rosemary Pound Cakes in the Puffin Plated edition of Pride and Prejudice.

Plus, I baked it for Mr. Sketchy Reader as an "I'm sorry for being a meany" apology.  So I guess you can say that it's an apology cake!  And I'm not going to tell you what I did because you will unfollow me, so there!

I decided on Big Mama's recipe because I just wasn't in the mood for rosemary.

My grandmother baked this cake often when I was growing up.  I can remember eating it after school, and I liked it plain with nothing on it.  She preferred to bake it in loaf pans.  The beauty of this recipe is that you can give away one loaf and keep the other.  Plus, this cake freezes very well: I like to slice it and then freeze it in individual freezer bags.

This cake is called a "pound" cake because originally the recipe required a pound each of sugar, eggs, flour, and butter. 

I drizzled a little bit of honey on my slice.  Mr. Sketchy Reader likes whipped cream and berries on his.

If you choose not to bake it in loaf pans, you can bake it in a tube pan.  I used my fancy rose-shaped pan.  It looks pretty with confectioner's sugar sprinkled on top.  Another idea is to bake eight miniature loaf cakes for the holidays.  You could bake them for Valentine's Day, place them in pretty cellophane treat bags and finish each off with a red ribbon and card!

Big Mama's Pound Cake


1 cup butter
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 pint whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon, butter, or almond flavoring (or additional vanilla flavoring if you prefer)


Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time, beating after each.  Add flour alternately with cream, beginning and ending with flour.  Add flavorings.  Pour into two 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 X 3 inch loaf pans, or 1 10-inch tube pan.  Bake at 325 F for one hour.  (Note:  My oven is slow, and it took closer to 1 hour and twenty minutes in the tube pan.  Check after one hour.)

The way you know when it's done is stick a wooden skewer into the cake and a little cake should be attached to it (not runny batter, but cake crumbs).  You don't want the skewer to come out clean!

In case you're wondering, I added lemon extract because it's Mr. Sketchy Reader's favorite.
I like more of a buttery taste, so I prefer the butter flavoring. 
Both daughters like vanilla only!

Pound cake is definitely on my Top Ten Comfort Foods List.  I think this and chocolate chip cookies are the only desserts on there.  I like savory more than sweet!

What about you?  Do you bake any comfort desserts?

Until next time...

Ricki Jill