Saturday, June 30, 2012

Blueberries and Books


We visited Blueberry Havens today.  It is a blueberry farm/used book store not far from our lake cabin in Tallapoosa County, Alabama.  I couldn't believe it when I read about it in Lake Martin Magazine...blueberries and books are two of my very favorite things!


I bought a couple of books:  Ivan Doig's Ride With Me, Mariah Montana (on of my favorites) and Elizabeht Berg's Open House, and Oprah Book Club pick from about ten years ago.  I have read a few of Berg's books, and I hope it is as good as The Year of Pleasures.

I bought Shelley a first edition of Alice Hoffman's Aquamarine.


We picked a gallon of blueberries, and lucky for us Blueberry Havens had several blueberry recipe cards they shared with us!  I baked a blueberry crisp, and everyone liked it!


LOL someone got into it before I could take a photo!

Blueberry Crisp

4 cups blueberries
3 T all-purpose flour
2 T sugar
2 t lemon juice
vegetable cooking spray
1/2 c uncooked oats
1/3 c all-purpose flour
1/3 c firmly packed brown sugar
1 t ground cinnamon
3 t margarine

Dredge blueberries in 3 T four in a medium bowl.  Stir in sugar and lemon juice.  Spoon mixture in an 8-inch square baking dish coated in cooking spray.  Combine oats, 1/3 cup flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Cut in margarine with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle topping over blueberry mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.  Serve warm.

Have you done something unique this weekend?

Linking to:
Simple Sunday
Beautiful Sunday

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Friday, June 29, 2012

Literary Friday: The Watchers


This week I read The Watchers by Jon Steele: a very unique suspense thriller. The antagonists are fallen angels and Nephilim, while the main protagonist is the Archangel Michael. Unlike Cassandra Clare's Nephilim in the Mortal Instruments series, these Nephilim are not heroes protecting humanity from demons; these Nephilim are soul-eaters.  The Nephilim are mentioned in the Book of Enoch, a book believed to be only a myth until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947.  It is quoted along with the Bible in this novel.  Only a couple of Christian sects recognize this apocryphal book as sacred although Enoch is mentioned in the Bible several times.

Lausanne, Switzerland is the setting for The Watchers.  Three people have been drawn to Lausanne...three people with nothing in common, yet they share the same destiny.  First, there is an English private detective named Jay Harper.  Jay wakes up one morning with absolutely no memory.  A telephone call offering him a job in Lausanne is an offer Jay can't refuse because he has nothing else to do with his time, or at least he can't remember any plans he made previously.  Katherine Taylor is a former Playboy College Edition playmate from UCLA and high class call girl.  An exclusive club of the world's elite called the 200 Club recruits Katherine to work in Lausanne.  A young man named Marc Rochat is sent to Lausanne from Canada when he is ten after his mother's death.  He becomes le guet of the Lausanne Cathedral.  Le guet is the nightwatchman who calls the hour from 10:00 PM until 2:00 AM each night.  It is a custom that is centuries old.  Marc is a sweet, perceptive man with cerebral palsy and a slight gait.  He is plagued with visions from "beforetimes" or things that happened in the past, and visions of the future. According to the good angels, our world was intended to be a paradise, but the bad shadows (as Marc calls them) are intent on completely destroying it.  These three characters' lives intersect at the cathedral, and the fate of the world is in their hands, for they discover an ancient secret hiding below the cathedral: a secret forgotten by angels that could provide insight into creation.

There is violence, adult language, and very scary scenes in this book.  Steele is a fantastic writer, and I can tell he is a journalist because he does not waste words in spite of the more than 500 pages in this book.  I enjoyed reading about the cathedral,  and I would like to visit Lausanne one day just to visit it.  I would even enjoy staying up late to hear le guet call the midnight hour:

"C'est le guet; il a sonné l'heure!"
"This is the nightwatchman.  The hour has struck!"

Don't forget that this is a linky, and I cannot wait to see what great books y'all have read lately!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop


I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Mundie Moms are hosting a Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop.  Prizes are meant to appeal to readers, writers, and bloggers.

Here are the prizes in my giveaway:

Three Special Edition Books:




and one of my 3" X 4" mini paintings:


Romancing the Book Club Selection
3" X 4"
oil on canvas

I will frame the mini painting once the varnish dries.

In order to enter, you must:
Leave one comment on this post and tell me what book is at the top of your summer reading list.  That's it!


Celebrate your Freedom to read!  Go to Mundie Moms and I Am a Reader, Not a Writer blog hop and enter to win other wonderful prizes.

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

My Pitiful Attempt at Independence Day Decor :(

I try to keep my blog a positive place....truly I do!!!  *But* this week has been chaotic. My youngest has been in a riding day camp, and the hours have been cut and moved up earlier in the day due to the high temperatures. So I am spending a big chunk of my morning driving back and forth to the barn.  Twice.

PLUS we have furniture and *stuff* all over the darn place because we are working on two really big projects..... during the summer.......  We are idiots.  :/

Our neighbors have dug up their entire front yard, including the sidewalk.  We have been without internet because the cable was cut.  The little tiny bit of blogging I am doing is from Starbucks before my barn trips.

So without further ado, here are my Independence Day decorations...let's look in the dining room first:



See the runner?  I bought it on sale 50% off a while back {Pier 1}.  That's it!  


Here is a close-up of the runner....I spy green and yellow on it....whatev...

Now let's look in the kitchen:


I bought these patriotic placemats in Nashville 23 years ago.  Very country.  Yep!


Look!  Red, white, and blue bowls!!!   :/

Pitiful.  Just pitiful.  But I am also trying to keep it real around here!

Disclaimer:  I am truly a Patriot.  I love my country, and I love Independence Day.  But I have furniture in our foyer, an empty room upstairs, and paintings and books all over my art studio.  We are living in chaos for the next several weeks!  But that's okay.  We will get everything done. Eventually.

I linked-up to a couple of parties, and I did get to visit maybe half a dozen blogs.  I will join other link parties and visit my blog buddies when our cable is fixed.  Plus, I am going to miss Dallas tonight  *sadface*  I can't spend all of my time at Starbucks because I need to finish these projects!!! MEH!!!!

Literary Friday will go on as scheduled Friday morning {even if I have to go to Starbucks} at 8:00 AM CDT.  I hope to see you there!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Super Easy Strawberry Cake


This is one of my favorite (and easiest) recipes for strawberry cake.


1 box package white cake mix
1/2 package frozen strawberries (10 oz)
1 cup shortening (I use butter flavored Crisco)
4 eggs
1 (3 oz) package strawberry jello

1 (16 oz) box powdered sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 package frozen strawberries


Combine Jello and shortening in a bowl, and cream.  Add eggs and strawberries.  Add cake mix, and beat until well blended.  If too thick, add a little water.  Pour into 3 greased and floured 9" cake pans (I use Baker's Joy). Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes, but check them after twenty minutes.  Frost cake with icing when cool.

For icing, cream margarine and sugar.  Add strawberries.  Add a little milk if too thick.


I hope you'll try it!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Happy List and a Special Strawberry Social


I had such a wonderful time over the weekend with my sorority sisters.  So my happy list is all about my weekend!


Our t-shirt from the reunion....I think it is so much fun!  It makes me happy!

My Happy List

Spending time at the house and in Tuscaloosa with my sorority sisters made me so happy!!!

So in honor of my sisters, I want to return the favor and give them a virtual Strawberry Social that would make Maude Jones Horner proud!!!



I serve berries with cream and brown sugar.  I just don't have them out yet.  I also place a balsamic glaze in the little bunny creamer.

Fresh berries make me happy!




I truly feel blessed to know so many outstanding women.


With so many strawberries on hand I baked a strawberry cake.  I will post the recipe tomorrow!  Strawberry cakes make Mr. Art @ Home extremely happy!!!

Please join Mamarazzi @ Dandelion Wishes and share your happy!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Monday, June 25, 2012

Musical Monday: 80s Alternative at Its Best!

This weekend I attended a reunion for the University of Alabama 80s Zetas!  We had so much fun visiting with each other at the house.  Several of my sisters did an amazing job planning activities, catering meals, etc.  The Zeta House looks fantastic, and so do my sisters! ;P

For Musical Monday and Tuesday Tune, I want to share a song that reminds me of my sisters. Disclaimer:  The content of the song is not why I am reminded of them....the song was just extremely popular with us!!!  ;P

Violent Femmes "Blister in the Sun"

Linking to:

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

I Am Working On a Little Project.... are some hints:




Fifty Shades of Red

Care to guess what I'm up to????  ;P

More later this week!

Please read my Musical Monday post that will be up a little later this morning to learn what AMAZING EVENT I attended over the weekend!!!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Have a Peaceful Sunday!


Old photo I never got around to posting for some reason.
Lacy clay wall pocket was purchased many years ago in Florida at a gardening shop that was an exact replica of Giverny, Claude Monet's home and garden.  I am dreaming of the beach today!

Wishing you a joyful and peaceful Sunday!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Friday, June 22, 2012

Literary Friday: The House I Loved



You will appreciate this book if you love Paris!
Above pretties from Flora Doora

This week I read The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay.  It is the poignant story about a family home's impending destruction due to Napoleon III and Baron Haussmann's complete redesign of Paris in the 1860s.  Rose Bazelet tells her story in a series of letters to her deceased husband Armand.  She also shares letters written to her from other characters, and the narrative reminds me of The Guernsey Literaray and Potato Peel Pie Society.  The technique works equally well in The House I Loved; Rose's letters are filled with love, sorrow, and grief.

Rose is a very complicated character, and I am impressed with how de Rosnay reveals so many facets of her personality through her letters.  She is only one of three residents on her street, Rue Childebert, determined to take a stand against the government.  At almost sixty, Rose shows a strength of character that is admirable as she refuses to give-up her home up until the very end. The content of most of Rose's letters describe her relationships with family, friends, and people from the neighborhood.  I particularly enjoyed reading about her friendship with one of her tenants, a flower shop owner named Alexandrine.  Young enough to her her daughter, Rose learns so much about the language of flowers by spending time in the shop.  Rose also becomes a voracious reader, a pastime Armand enjoyed.  Although she never was a reader when Armand was alive, the bookstore owner, Monsieur Zamaretti, introduces her to a whole new world, beginning with Flaubert's Madame Bovary.

Because the book is sad, I do not recommend this as a beach or lake read.  It is a fantastic book, though, and I hope that you will read it.  Plus it is a very quick read.  :D  So steep a pot of tea (preferably Marriage Freres' Lapsang Souchong, Rose's favorite) and savor de Rosnay's beautiful prose!


Boulevard Saint-Germain, the street that will overtake Rue Childebert (Rose's Street)
You can see Rue Childebert below the rose's leaves.  The map is on the book's endpapers.


Look at this adorable Flora Doora Jane sent me this week while I was reading The House I Loved.
See the street on it?  Jane rocks, I tell ya!


Alexandrine says that the rose is the queen of all flowers.  She also said that Rose is aptly named.


These are creamy Vendela roses.  

What have you been reading lately?  Please link up and share!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chippy White Collection



Details on frames

Alison a The Polo House inspired me yesterday with her kitchen Summer Whites collection she shared.  So I got out a chippy white collection: white picture frames made by artist Laura VanLandingham.  I love the chippy white and cream wood, metal butterflies and flowers, and even the barbed wire!  :/



The taller frame with the barbed wire heart is my favorite.



This frame and the one below are hanging on the kitchen wall.


Do you decorate your kitchen for summer?

Linking to:

Thursday Favorite Things

Ivy and Elephants

Until next time...

Ricki Jill