Happy Friday, Y'all!  Have you had a nice week so far?  It's been very hot here in Central Alabama: We've been under a heat advisory for most of the week.  When it's too hot to play outside, your children or grandchildren might enjoy learning how to draw cool stuff, which happens to be the title of the book I'm reviewing today!

According to Goodreads:

How to Draw Cool Stuff shows simple step-by-step illustrations that make it easy for anyone to draw cool stuff with precision and confidence. These pages will guide you through the basic principles of illustration by concentrating on easy-to-learn shapes that build into complex drawings.

With the step-by-step guidelines provided, anything can become easy to draw. This book contains a series of fun, hands-on exercises that will help you see line, shape, space and other elements in everyday objects and turn them into detailed works of art in just a few simple steps.

The exercises in this book will help train your brain so you can visualize ordinary objects in a different manner, allowing you to see through the eyes of an artist.

From photorealistic faces to holiday themes and tattoo drawings, How to Draw Cool Stuff makes drawing easier than you would think and more fun than you ever imagined! Now is the time to learn how to draw the subjects and scenes you've always dreamt of drawing. How to Draw Cool Stuff is suitable for artists of any age benefiting everyone from teachers and students to self-learners and hobbyists.

How to Draw Cool Stuff will help you realize your artistic potential and expose you to the pure joy of drawing!

My Review:

This book does a pretty good job teaching some of the basics, from mark making to perspective.  Each lesson has a brief outline including objectives, vocabulary, and activities.  Catherine V. Holmes, the author, has included a variety of subjects for the lessons that would appeal to both girls and boys.  Kids can decide what they'd like to draw once the basics are covered in the beginning of the book.  I like the step by step illustrations because it teaches young artists one of the most important lessons that an artist can learn: Drawing should be approached from general shapes to specific details.

I think this book is appropriate for upper elementary children and up.  All you really need to complete the lessons are a number 2 pencil, a good eraser, and a drawing or sketch pad.  It would be great to take on a trip in case of inclement weather, and I think all homeschool classrooms would benefit from having this book or one of the books in the series (there are five total).

I completed a couple of lessons for y'all to see.

The human eye lesson is from Chapter Two: Human Face Parts.
This chapter is a little more difficult than the rest.

The lesson above is typical of most of the lessons in the book.  
This lesson's focus is shading, and it includes the objectives and vocabulary.

This lesson is from Chapter Four: Holidays and Seasons.
You can see a little bit of the book on the left.  

This shows the step-by-step for drawing a rose and a banner.
I only used a number 2 pencil for this drawing.  

One of the books in the series is How to Draw Cool Stuff: The 5 Minute Workbook.  It looks like it would be fun and (maybe) provide drawing prompts for art journaling.  

I received a copy of How to Draw Cool Stuff from the publisher (Library Tales Publishing) via TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review.  Thank-you, TLC, for inviting me to be a part of the tour!

NOTE:  I wrote this post before the shootings at my church yesterday.  I had a commitment to read and review this book and post my review on this date.  Please pray for our church community.  Thank-you.

Until next time...

Create more art, and happy reading!
Ricki Jill


There has been a mass shooting at our church, St. Stephen's Episcopal, this evening.  Multiple people shot, and the shooter is in custody.

That's all I know at the moment.

Please pray.  This is so hard.  I love my church and church family so much.  They have been so supportive of me while I've been in treatment for breast cancer.  Their prayers, cards, and flowers have sustained me during this difficult time.

Thank you for praying.

(I'm turning off comments for this post.)


Happy Tuesday, My Lovelies!  Welcome to the summer edition of the Tablescape Blog Hop hosted by Rita @ Panoply.  Thank-you so much for hosting, Rita!

Isn't this a stunning setting!

But before I share my tablescape, I want to share a happy milestone with you:  Yesterday was my last chemo treatment, and I rang the bell!  So happy to have chemo in the rearview mirror!

Now on to my tablescape.  It has a theme, and it's summer reading for a summer book club meeting.  I decided to use the colors of the ocean, sea glass, sand, driftwood, and sunshine.  I miss the beach.  I haven't been to the beach since 2019!  We're planning a beach trip for late summer or early fall.

The table runner reminds me of the beach because of the colors, and its texture reminds me of beach mats.
The placemats have beach umbrellas printed on them.

I enjoy the vase bookends, and I thought they would be fun to use for the centerpiece.

I ordered these wine cups from England a few years ago.

Sea glass and turquoise votives

Pitcher for strawberry iced tea

Because finger foods are on the menu, there's no need for lots of silverware, although I have placed forks at each setting for the lemon bars.

I also tried to match the fluted MacKenzie-Childs luncheon plates with the placemats.  

Book club meetings need to be simple, yet I wanted to offer something delicious for the members.  Here is the menu for our summer book club meeting:

Here are a few suggestions for your summer reading.  I have not read all of these books, however, my daughter has read a few of them, and my bookseller has recommended the rest.  

They say you can't judge a book by its cover.
But let's do it anyway!
Which one looks good to you?
I ordered Adult Assembly Required, and it's waiting for me at my local indie bookshop.

Please visit all the talented ladies' tablescape posts.  You can click on the links below!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill


Happy Tuesday, My Lovelies!  I hope y'all had a blessed and meaningful Memorial Day.

Today I'm sharing a fun memoir written by Ellen Nichols: Remember Whose Little Girl You Are.  Ellen grew up primarily in L.A., that's "Lower Alabama."  She was in high school and college at the height of the Civil Rights movement, and she was a very spirited child and young women.

Description for Remember Whose Little Girl You Are:

“I was born in 1944, the second of four daughters. Our father was a Methodist preacher and our mother was a preacher’s daughter. My three sisters were each the epitome of what a preacher’s daughter ought to be: modest, caring, chaste, full of good deeds, discerning, and cautious. It fell to me to uphold the popular image of a daughter of the parsonage: wild, willful, religiously disrespectful, incautious, and a trampler of tradition. And oh, I fell to this role with relish and abandon.”

Born the daughter of a preacher but afforded none of the grace or modesty, Ellen Nichols recounts her memories of growing up in the Deep South with relentless honesty and biting wit. Moving around Alabama from parsonage to parsonage, her family and the church are the two things that remain constant through her life. Her father was never the average image of a southern Methodist preacher either, often preaching the importance of equal rights alongside gospel.

With every move, Ellen tells the stories of her new hometown and the people she meets there, from her childhood playmates to family friends to the many beaus (of varying quality) that she dated through high school. While the picture Ellen paints of the South during the fifties and sixties is transportive, it is not always idyllic. The narrative of the Civil Rights movement is woven intrinsically throughout the chapters of the book, with racial tensions always looming in the background. Whether it is the local Dairy Queen where Ellen would order her food from the “Blacks only” window or the protest she attended against her college’s rules, her account allows for a look into a past that isn’t always acknowledged in today’s world. There is a sometimes-jarring shock between Ellen’s humorous takes on the environment she grew up in and the grave seriousness of our nation’s sordid history. At times, Ellen’s memoir comes off as more of a tell-all, with her unabashed detailing of her life in the Deep South- both on a personal and broader level.

My Review:

This memoir is a very short read, only about 112 pages.  I couldn't put it down and finished it in one sitting!  It covers Ellen's early childhood until she leaves for Canada for graduate school.  Ellen is a real corker:  Her childhood shenanigans are fun to read!  She has a penchant for being attracted to the most obnoxious kids in her various schools, and many of them became nefarious and extremely dangerous adults.  Honestly, several of them could have been freaks in Flannery O'Connor's fiction.  

Supportive of the Civil Rights movement, Ellen defies her Huntingdon College administration and attends Civil Right's marches.  When she and her fellow students are caught, she defends their actions by explaining that one day, Huntingdon will accept students of color, and it will be up to the white students to be welcoming.  Although she doesn't lose her status as an honors student, she is shunned by other students and not given other honors she earned.

Ellen shares her dating life for a big portion of the book, and the many of the young men go on to become highly successful in various fields.  The one I am the most fascinated about is musician and songwriter Steve Young.  He wrote one of my favorite songs Seven Bridges Road which was recorded by The Eagles.  The story about the song and its connection to Ellen is super cool.  

Although most of the chapters are short vignettes and are either about the small towns her family moved to or her many beaux, each one gives you a distinct sense of place and a personal witness to the racial tension and impending changes in the South.  I truly love Ellen's voice: she's funny, intelligent, and self-deprecating.  I would love to read about her fifty years in Canada.  If anything, I know that her life north of the border has given her an interesting perspective on her early history.  If you enjoy memoirs, you must read Remember Whose Little Girl You Are.  

How cool is this?
I was sent these socks to match the ones on the cover of the book.  Y'all know how much I love socks!  

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Disclosure:  I was given a paperback copy of Remember Whose Little Girl You Are (and socks!) via TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review.  Thanks for allowing me to be a part of the tour! 

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

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