Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fresh Cut Friday: Roses


A lovely bouquet of roses, hydrangeas, carnations, and ginger

This post is dedicated to my daughter, Shanley Belle.  I chose pink roses because they are her sorority's flowers(Shanley is a DZ).  She is also an Anglophile, so I placed them in one of Jane's adorable Flora Dooras with the Union Jack on it.


The Union Jack is floral!


The flora door is hanging between windows about this Rachel Ashwell Union Jack pillow.  It has roses printed on it.


Rose tip:  cut the stems shorter so they will bloom to their fullest!

Will you join Liz @ Rose Vignettes and celebrate roses with us?


Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Nope! It's NOT Gonna Happen!


You can make up this bed around me...I will not move!

Bonnie Blue is being a naughty terrier today.  *sighs*  So how is your day going so far?

I will be painting all day in my art studio preparing for an upcoming art show.

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Debbiedoo's Magazine Copy Cat Challenge: Victoria Sandwich


The May issue of Country Living UK inspired this Copy Cat Challenge.


I wanted to do something a bit different for this month's Copy Cat Challenge. In honor of Queen Elizabeth II and her Diamond Jubilee, I made a Victoria Sandwich.  A Victoria Sandwich is an English teatime treat favored by Queen Victoria.

I found three recipes, and I was not crazy about the first one I tried.  I am trying another one tomorrow, and if I like it better I will post it, promise!  We have been invited to a Diamond Jubilee party this weekend, and if I can perfect this recipe I will share a Victoria Sandwich at the party.


My layers are thinner because I do not have a real sandwich tin that is only 7" in diameter.  I want to find a recipe for an 8" cake pan.


A Victoria Sandwich is basically a sponge cake with jam between the layers.  I used strawberry jam in mine.

Are you sharing your latest copy cat with Debbie?

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Homespun Style


The book's cover represents the book well.  Bold colors, graphic wallpapers, mixture of fabrics on pillows and cushions, colorful crockery, and vintage furniture can be found in most of the rooms in Homespun Style.

I think I have most of Selina Lake's books.  Her latest one is Homesun Style, and the rooms featured in the book have a bold seventies vibe.  Many of the rooms have white walls with tons of colorful fabrics and accessories.  Vintage seventies wallpaper is featured in several of the rooms.  Although I prefer her Romantic Style as it is one of my all-time favorite decorating books, I still enjoyed Homespun Style.  I wish I had sewing skills because the book features many crafts using colorful and fun fabrics.  I think that many of the living areas are a bit chintzy and too playful for my tastes, but the dining rooms with large scale seventies wallpapers and a mixture of new and vintage furnishings are stunning.  Many of the cozy kitchens are unique and inspiring, too.


My breakfast room table inspired by Homespun Style.  I put the most colorful things I could find in my kitchen on the table.  Voila!

Have you read any of Selina Lake's books, or do you follow her blog?

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Happy List: She's Rather *Bookish*


Yet another theme for My Happy List, the most positive link party in the blogosphere!

My Happy List

1.   My nerdy daughter, Shanley Belle, has started her own blog, Chocolate and Happily Ever After.  She will be blogging about delicious guilt-free treats and books.   It is rather cute, and I hope y'all will go over there and say "Hi!" to her.  She would appreciate your feedback! Reading Shanley's blog makes me happy!


2.   Miss Angie @ My So-Called Chaos and Beth @ Living the Goddess Life are hosting a book swap after my own heart.  Participants will send three books to their partners:

Book #1: A Book You Love

Book #2: A Book You Haven't Read

Book #3: A Book Your Partner Wants

Swaps and new books make so very happy!!!

3.   Literary Friday will now be a link party!  I hope y'all will join in on the fun from time to time. The first party will be on Friday, June 8th.  Write a post about your Summer Reading Wish List if you want!  Hosting a new link party makes me very nervous happy!

4.    For those of you who are Outlander fans, this quote made me very happy this week:

"So they handcuffed me and said, 'Anything you say can and will be held against you.'  So I said, 'James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser.'"

*giggles*  I love this!

What is making you happy this week?

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Monday, May 28, 2012

Stunning Photography

Have any of you heard of Rise Art?  I had not until recently, and I discovered a young photographer whose work I adore.  I would love to own one of these photographs for our library I am in the process of planning and designing. These are limited edition prints, 90.0cm X 90.0cm.


French Books


Bengali Books


German Books

The photographer's name is Ting-Ting Cheng.  Here is a little information from her bio on her Rise Art page:

"Cheng’s practice focuses on the relationship between objects, environments and people’s emotions toward them. Using a combination of images and text, she explores how they anchor and relate to each other. Ting-Ting Cheng was born in Taiwan and graduated from MA Photographic Studies in University of Westminster, London. She has exhibited and received a number of photography awards internationally, including New York, London, Berlin and Taipei."

Check out her photography on her artist's page here.

I really would love one of these!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Books 'n Bloggers Swap

I am so happy that Beth from Living a Goddess Life and Miss Angie from My So-Called Chaos are hosting a Books 'n Bloggers Swap!  :D  Y'all know how much I enjoy reading and swaps, so this one will be so much fun for me!

Here is what we'll be doing for this swap:

Send three books to your partner which will include:

A book you love.
A book you haven't read.
A book your partner will love.

There are several books I love and I look forward to sharing with my partner.  :D

I have been making my Summer Reading List this week, and I have found some excellent books I haven't read.

I will have access to my partner's Wish List, so hopefully I will choose a book that my partner will love.

Are you a Nosy Nellie and interested in what might be on my Wish List?  *giggles*  Here are three that have my attention:

Photobucket Photobucket

Two of these are fantastic beach reads, and one is more literary.  :D

Doesn't it sound like a fun swap?  I cannot wait to spend an afternoon in the book store shopping for my partner.

How is your Summer Reading List coming along?

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Friday, May 25, 2012

Literary Friday: The House of Velvet and Glass


This week I read Katherine Howe's The House of Velvet and Glass.  Howe also wrote one of my all-time favorite books, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane.  I almost dreaded reading The House of Velvet and Glass because I loved her first book so much, but I wasn't disappointed at all.  I highly recommend both of these books, and I'm certain the The House of Velvet and Glass will make my Top Books of 2012 list.

Sibyl Allston is a late twenty-something Boston socialite in 1915.  She is still grieving the loss of her mother and sister, both of whom perished on Titanic's maiden voyage three years earlier. Sibyl runs her father's household in a wealthy Back Bay neighborhood, and spends time with a psychic medium named Madame Dee in hopes of contacting her dead family. She has very few invitations, as society has given up on her ever finding a husband at her "advanced" age.  When her brother is expelled from Harvard under mysterious circumstances and befriends a quirky, artistic flapper, things start to unravel in the Allston household.

The flapper's name is Dovie Whistler, and she and Sibyl become fast friends. Dovie reminds Sibyl of her younger sister Eulah because she is so daring and outspoken.  Dovie introduces Sibyl to a seedy side of Boston that Sibyl would have never discovered on her own.  One of Sibyl's former beaux, Benton Darby, returns from Italy a widower and takes a psychology professorship in Harvard's new Social Ethics department.  Darby wants to help Sibyl's brother Harley get reinstated at Harvard, and Sibyl needs Darby's help in solving a mystery. Darby and Sibyl realize they still have deep feelings for one another, and the skeptical Darby learns that some mysteries cannot be explained through science.

Whenever Sibyl visits campus, the new Widener Memorial Library looms over the quad.  It's a constant reminder of the Titanic tragedy as Harry Widener, a prolific bibliophile, was on board and did not survive.  His mother-- who did survive-- donated almost four million dollars for the library's construction.

Most of the story occurs during April and May of 1915, and the sinking of the Lusitania happened on May 7, 1915. Because the main story is bookended by these two tragedies, The House of Velvet and Glass is melancholy at best. This was such a pivotal time in American history with industrialization, spiritualism, and the Progressive era changing the country's psyche. Howe's attention to historical detail is remarkable.

This book's plot is practically perfect.  It is interrupted with "Interludes" from the past: glimpses into Mr. Allston's time as a young sailer in Shanghai and Helen and Beulah Allston's last evening on the Titanic.  At first, I was annoyed with these interludes because I was enjoying the main story.  But the technique is genius because Howe ties all the pieces of the mystery together like a present: The ending is shocking and will engage the reader into thinking long and hard about fate (or Providence).  Another plus about the book is its characters. They are all interesting, and I truly became intrigued with the family secrets, romance, and unexplainable magic in The House of Velvet and Glass.  I hope it will make your summer reading list!


Speaking of Summer Reading....

I have an announcement!  I will be hosting a link party every Friday along with my Literary Friday posts beginning on Friday, June 8th.  

I would like for you to share your Summer Reading List for the first party.  I am preparing my summer reading list this weekend so I can begin my summer reading after Memorial Day!

If you look on my sidebar, I have a new Literary Friday button.  I hope you will grab it!


Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ericka's Stargazer Lily


Ericka's Stargazer Lily
8" X 8"
oil on art board

For Ericka Leonard, instructional support teacher extraordinaire.  Thank-you for helping Shelley meet her potential in eighth grade.

The stargazer lily represents wealth and prosperity.  We wish you both, Ms. Leonard.  Have a great summer!

Today is the last day of school!  :D

Linking to:
Beautiful Sunday

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Special After School Snack: Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins


Gluten-free blueberry muffin


I have been playing with my Mother's Day presents:  muffin baker and Blackbird Bakery Gluten-Free recipe book.  I have not tried any of the recipes in it yet; I need to buy some of the more obscure ingredients for gluten free baking from Whole Foods, and I have not had time to shop there recently.



I was not totally crazy about the recipe I used for these muffins, so I won't post it.  Once I perfect it I will, promise!

Only one more day of school left!  YAY!!!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Last Week of School *whew*

I know some of you probably think I've fallen off the face of the earth!  Not quite, *but* it has been a ridiculously busy last two weeks of school.  This past weekend, we took Shelley and her friends to the lake for an end of the school year celebration.  Shelley's friends are delightful!  I am very proud of Shelley's choices in friends.


Shelley and her friends on our boat, on our way to Chuck's pizza and kids' karaoke night.
Shelley is on the right.

I am so sorry that I have not visited any of your blogs this past week.  Things are so out of hand around here that we did not even have milk in the house for tea this morning!  I will try to write some posts and visit y'all as soon as I can.

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Friday, May 18, 2012

Literary Friday: City of Lost Souls


This week I read the highly anticipated City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare.  It is the fifth installment in the very popular Mortal Instruments series, and I must admit that I have many conflicting emotions about the book. Although it was worth all the hype and I still think that Clare is the best young adult writer {ever}, I have a few criticisms with this book that I did not have with the first four.

First, let me give you a brief overview of the series:

The Mortal Instruments is about a young New Yorker named Clary Fray who discovers another world while she and her best friend Simon Lewis are downtown at a music club called Pandemonium. There exists a group of warriors called shadowhunters who protect regular humans, or mundanes, from downworlders, who are vampires, werewolf's, warlocks, and faeries. Shadowhunters also hunt and kill demons invading through protective wards all over the world at an increasingly greater rate.  These shadowhunters are half human/half angel, and they are called nephilim. They have supernatural speed and agility to fight these other beings when they threaten humans. When Clary sees a few young nephilim at the Pandemonium Club and follow them, they are stunned that Clary can see through their glamour.  Clary soon learns that her mother Jocelyn has been hiding her heritage from her by taking her memories with the help of a warlock named Magnus Bane.  When Jocelyn is threatened by demons and put in a deep sleep by a spell, Clary joins the nephilim's New York Institute and begins training as a shadowhunter.   Clary's estranged father starts a war, Clary falls in love with a shadowhunter, and Simon becomes one of the most powerful vampires in the world.  You will need to brush-up on your Old Testament because there are plenty of references to it in this series.

City of Lost Souls begins two weeks after City of Fallen Angels ends.  Clary's evil brother Sebastian has been raised from the dead by Lilith, and his life is tied to Jace, Clary's love. Sebastian is the very embodiment of evil, and in my opinion he makes his villainous father Valentine seem downright decent.  The Clave cannot locate Jace and Sebastian, and there is a huge problem when they do: Sebastian cannot be killed without also killing Jace because each feels what the other one feels.  Clary is restless waiting on The Clave to discover a way to save Jace, so in true Clary form she rushes into danger to save her boyfriend. Once she is with Jace, she knows that he is not really "her Jace" but someone else altogether. He is now subject to Sebastian's will, and he happily complies with everything Sebastian says. Cassie's plot centering around Clary, Jace, and Sebastian is genius.  I had many conflicting emotions about Sebastian throughout the book, and I kept second-guessing myself about him until the end.

I liked the pace of the plot.  Sometimes Clare's books move at such an exhausting pace I have to spend time rereading scenes just so I won't be lost. I also like Clary's character so much more in City of Lost Souls.  For once her bravery outweighs her recklessness, and Clary's training as a Shadowhunter has paid off.  She really kicks butt in this book!  Another character who is developed very well is Izzy.  Her vulnerability makes her a much more interesting character, and her scenes with Simon were some of the best in the book.  There is definitely a shocking scene between Izzy and Simon; I for one want to know more about the red-stoned choker Izzy wears, and I also wonder why she is the only Lightwood without startlingly blue eyes (hers are dark brown).  Simon was so heroic in this book, and he truly saves the day. I also enjoyed a glimpse of Simon's big sister Rebecca.  I hope to read more about her in the next book, but I am also worried that if any of Simon's enemies know about her that they will use her to provoke Simon.

The Clary/Jace/Sebastian storyline is not the only exciting one in City of Lost Souls.  Maia and Jordan's scenes are better than I thought they would be because Jordan is such a nice guy. There is absolutely no doubt that he loves Maia, and the more I read about Jordan's honorable character, the more I like him.  We get a glimpse into the elite organization Praetor Lupus, the guardian werewolf group Jordan joined after accidentally turning Maia. Alec and Magnus are having issues due to Alec's immaturity and insecurity. Camille manipulates Alec which results in dire consequences for him.  I am a bit more sympathetic to Alec because of Camille's manipulation and his age, but most readers disagree with me on this point. Maureen has been the biggest surprise of all, and I hope that City of Heavenly Fire (book 6) begins with her.

I have a couple of criticisms, and the first one is that Cassie describes the characters' clothing a bit obsessively.  I do not think she did this as much in the other books, and the descriptions are a distraction to the plot.  I do enjoy reading about Simon's t-shirts in the books (example:  THE LOCH NESS MONSTER ADVENTURE CLUB: FINDING ANSWERS, IGNORING FACTS), but I do not need to know what everyone is wearing in every single scene. There are a few times in the book when Cassie seems to break for a public service announcement, and these scenes also distracted me from the plot. Sebastian's obsession with Clary is disturbing at best, and a few readers I have discussed the book with completely missed the entire crux of their storyline.  I will not spoil it for you, but when you read it pay attention to the dialogue between Clary and Sebastian at the end of the book.  I also wonder if there is a bit of a rivalry between Clare and another writer I know.  At first I thought I was imagining it, but now I am not so sure.  I do agree with one of the characters who does not like men who smell like sandalwood. :D

I do not recommend this book for young teens at all.  I will not let my fourteen year old read it yet.  There is violence, several make out scenes, mild language, and a few scenes like the one at the creeptastically macabre nightclub called The Bone Chandelier that I would give an R rating.

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Thursday, May 17, 2012


This week has been extremely busy with end of the school year activities and appointments, but I wanted to take the time to share our hydrangeas with you.  I think they look great this year, unlike last year.





This photo shows how sloped our property is!


Which color do you prefer: pink, blue or purple?

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Another Happy!

Shelley won an academic award at school today in reading.  We are so proud of you, Shelley!  It has been a busy week with end of the school year events and other activities.  I will try to visit your blogs later this week!


Shelley with her friends.  She is the third one from the left.

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

My Happy List: Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!


Still winning!  Charlie Sheen has nothing on me!  ;P

My Happy List this week is all about *winning*  :D

My Happy List

1.   I won a great giveaway from Sharon @ Plumrose Lane.  Just look at the adorable keychain!  It has so many cute charms on it:  heart lock, Red heart, love, red cupcake, and old fashioned heart.  Pretty gifts in red and white make me so, so happy!  You can see Sharon's other lovely creations at her Etsy store.




2.   I love to cook, and I won a classic cookbook from Elaine @ Sunny Simple Life.  Trying new recipes makes me so happy!  I have been looking through the cookbook this afternoon, and I think I might try the Blueberry Grunt first.  Don't you just *love* the name?  :D


3.   I did not really win this, but sweet Jane @ Flora Doora sent me this adorable French-themed Flora Doora.  The quote is from one of my favorite movies, French Kiss, with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline.  Flora Dooras always make me happy, and the fact that this one has a fun quote makes me especially happy!  I got the perfect roses for Mother's Day called Iguazu. They look pretty in this Flora Doora!



Join Mamarazzi, and share your happy!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Monday, May 14, 2012

Turquoise Won!

I am not surprised that turquoise won my Pantone Color of the Year poll. Here are the results:

Turquoise:  20 votes
Mimosa:  6 votes
Tangerine Tango:  4 votes
Honeysuckle:  3 votes

I was, however, surprised by the landslide win!  I voted for Honeysuckle.  I definitely want to include at least one of these cheery colors in our library.  I cannot wait to get started planning the room!


Turquoise is a pretty color.  


I love the turquoise accents in this pretty home library.

I appreciate those of you who voted.

Until next time...

Ricki Jill