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March Activities

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

I promised last week to write a post catching everyone up with what I've been up to lately, so here it is!

I've been completing several projects around the house including the family room and art studio.  I've also begun several fun art projects, and I'm committed to drawing a little bit everyday.  I'm posting my art journal entries daily on Instagram.  Please use the link in the sidebar and follow me and I'll follow you back!

Two recent botanical entries in my art journal

I've also been painting a series of architectural paintings focusing on antique doorknobs and weathered doors in my art class at Red Dot.  They're on smaller canvases (8" X 8") and I'm having a lot of fun with them.  I'll post photos as I finish these little paintings.

Since I stare at the dining rom from the art studio, I wanted to decorate it pretty for March.  Let's take a look:


Table runner:  Homegoods
All other table linens and baskets:  Longaberger
Plates:  Williams Sonoma
Napkin rings: Pier 1
Mosaic pieces:  Mosaicwares

Recently I read the December Once Upon a Book Club selection, Secrets of Nanreath Hall.

According to Goodreads:

Cornwall, 1940. Back in England after the harrowing evacuation at Dunkirk, WWII Red Cross nurse Anna Trenowyth is shocked to learn her adoptive parents Graham and Prue Handley have been killed in an air raid. She desperately needs their advice as she’s been assigned to the military hospital that has set up camp inside her biological mother’s childhood home—Nanreath Hall. Anna was just six years old when her mother, Lady Katherine Trenowyth, died. All she has left are vague memories that tease her with clues she can’t unravel. Anna’s assignment to Nanreath Hall could be the chance for her to finally become acquainted with the family she’s never known—and to unbury the truth and secrets surrounding her past.

Cornwall, 1913. In the luxury of pre-WWI England, Lady Katherine Trenowyth is expected to do nothing more than make a smart marriage and have a respectable life. When Simon Halliday, a bohemian painter, enters her world, Katherine begins to question the future that was so carefully laid out for her. Her choices begin to lead her away from the stability of her home and family toward a wild existence of life, art, and love. But as everything begins to fall apart, Katherine finds herself destitute and alone.

As Anna is drawn into her newfound family’s lives and their tangled loyalties, she discovers herself at the center of old heartbreaks and unbearable tragedies, leaving her to decide if the secrets of the past are too dangerous to unearth…and if the family she’s discovered is one she can keep.

My Review:

Secrets of Nanreath Hall is yet another family drama set in Cornwall, England across both world wars. Lady Katherine's story is quite unbelievable: She seems too smart to have fallen for someone like Simon and live in abject poverty when he's unwilling to introduce her to his family.  I wanted to like Katherine and Simon since both are artists so I was a little disappointed that I didn't really care.  One draw for Katherine's choice in lifestyle is the promise of pursuing an art education, but that doesn't seem to come to fruition.  Simon is not worthy of Katherine, and the only reason I won't say that he is a total waste of oxygen on this earth is because of Anna.   Anna's storyline, however, is equally tragic, but she's a heroine.  I love her character, bravery, and spirit.  The family intrigue at her family estate is fantastic and makes the book worthwhile.  We get a hint that Anna might have a happy ending, but the book ends even before America becomes involved in the war.  Maybe there is a sequel in the works. If you enjoy novels chock full of family secrets with a World War II setting, you will enjoy this book.

I enjoyed the goodies I received with the book.  The Once Upon a Book Club selections have post it notes in the book that tell the reader to open a present with the corresponding page number on it. This one was very well done.  One thing I loved is that we were given an apron similar to the one Anna wore while nursing the injured soldiers.  Later in the book, she reaches in her apron pocket and takes out a photo she filched from her aunt's photo album, and the envelope with the photo in it was in the apron! Too cute!

The prize from page 326 was inside Anna's apron.

Art, a letter from Simon to Katherine, and a locket were among the prizes also included in December's selection.

I'm a bit behind in my book club reading, so I'm starting on January's selection later this week.

What have you been doing lately?  Is it springtime in your neck of the woods yet?

P.S.  I'll have another fun announcement soon that wouldn't fit in this post.  Stay tuned!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill


  1. So good to be following your adventures again. I have missed you. I am anxious to investigate Once Upon a Book Club!

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  2. I am loving your art journal -- I have never done anything quite like that. Of course, I don't have your talent! Their book review sounds intriguing, but if you couldn't bring yourself to care, etc. that is rather telling.

    Your house always looks pretty! I have gone green on the kitchen table, too, for Spring. Mostly I just walk by my DR -- sad to say. Sometimes I remember to polish the silver...

  3. You do have your house in order and looking so pretty. I'm doing a lot of the same thing here, cleaning and much needed maintenance and spruce up for spring. I hope I can find time to do a St Patrick's vignette, about all I have time for now. Love your drawings and journaling, so pretty. It is storming like crazy here!

  4. I have enjoyed your art journal on IG. I love your February 22nd. My favorite flowers and my wedding flowers. :-)

    Your home is lovely. I like your St. Patrick dinning room. Beautiful!!!
    Thank you for sharing your book review, I always appreciate your reviews.

  5. I love your drawings and art journal entries, Ricki. You have been a busy girl! No wonder you haven't had time to catch up on your reading. Hope you have a good rest of the week. xoDiana

  6. Another post that has made me smile this morning

  7. Your art journal pages are all so fantastic! How long on average would you say you spend on them? I did just get a brand new 5 x 8 sketch book and a great set or micropens with 18 different tips. I have them right by my favorite spot to hopefully inspire something daily :) I LOVE your March dining room, the mosaic pieces are so unique and pretty! The book sounds interesting, I love World War II stories. I am enjoying Victoria on PBS right now. Happy reading & creating!

  8. Goodness gracious! We are on day two of snow, snow, snow!!!! Everything in Central New York as far as schools and colleges are closed (lots of other things shut down too!) I passed by my St Patrick's Day decor in the basement the other day and now regret not bringing it upstairs-I could have done t in one trip for goodness sake!


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.

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