Sunday, October 24, 2010

Evolution of Reading

I've loved to read for as long as I can remember.  My mom, sister and I would go into the public library on Saturday mornings and stock up. Instead of getting in trouble for watching TV when we should have been doing chores, dad would yell at us for having our nose in a book. What else was there to do when it was -30 outside? Sometimes I'd get through 2-3 books in a single weekend.

Book reports in school were easy. The hard part was picking which book to do the report on. Does anyone remember the Book-it program Pizza Hut ran back in the 80s? (They still do it! I wonder how many free personal pan pizzas I got out of them. It's no wonder that English was my favorite subject in school. I did get in trouble a couple of times in class though because I'd be reading on of my own books instead of a chapter in a history book. (I had to find out how it ended and couldn't wait until lunch or afterschool!) One of my good friends from elementary school is also an avid reader. To this day, we still swap book suggestions. We can go for months without talking, but when we do, the conversation inevitably turns to what good books we've read lately.

The earliest ones I remember loving were, of course, the Ramona books. 2nd grade, Mrs. Gander's class. And of course there was The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High.  There was also a series of books that had a girl's name as the title. Each of these girls lived at a different time in history. Cassie is the one that sticks in my mind. (I can't find it on Amazon, nuts.) One of my absolute favorites though was the Heralds of Valdemar series. LOVED THESE BOOKS. If you've got daughters, have them read these books. Excellent.  Arrows of the Queen is the first book.  Then, of course there is The Oustiders. All of S.E. Hinton's books were great.

I'm going to stop for a second here, I'm going to be 35 years old in a couple of weeks (holy crap 35? how the hell did THAT happen? Sigh.). So, what does it say that I remember all of these books from when I was 8, 9, 12 years old? That is the power of books! They stick with you, shape you, make you a spelling bee champion, and allow you to kick ass in Scrabble.

Ok, moving on...are you tired of hearing about books yet? Sorry, but I've only reached like 6th grade!  I'm going to reveal a deep, dark secret I don't think I've told anyone before (ok, maybe my mom and my sister, but I can't remember). When I was around 12-13, I used to babysit my cousins. My aunt had a whole bookcase of Harlequin romances.  I used to steal them (one at a time so it wouldn't be missed...sometimes two, but never three). I'd read them, bring them back the next time I babysat and would grab more. I wonder if she ever knew. They weren't like anything I'd ever read before and I was addicted. 

I think that Harlequin romance addiction started my obsession for historical romances. My friend and I devoured them. The trashy-er, smutty-er the better.  Amanda Quick was favorite. I'd read a whole series one right after the other.  I hadn't read one in a long time until the other day while at Target The Valcourt Heiress by Catherine Coulter caught my eye.  I couldn't resist it. I reserved it from the library that day and read it in a day. (I'm a fast reader.)

A couple of years ago a friend started a book club. Mysteries. I hadn't read a lot of mystery/thriller books in the past, but it was a good excuse to get together with the girls and drink wine. Turns out, I like mysteries/thrillers! I can't do an entire diet of them, but every once in a while they are great. It was one of the girls in this same book club that convinced me to read the Twilight Series. I'll admit it, I loved them. Devoured them. Could read one easily in a day.

These days, I typically read chick-lit. I enjoy memoirs like Eat, Pray, Love and The Sharper the Knife, the Less You Cry.  I just finished Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. Super good book. 

Every once in a while I'll read an Oprah book or one that is supposed to be one that EVERYONE has to read. Water for Elephants was good and I have The Help waiting for me to pick up at the library.

Funny how the stage in your life kinda determines what books interest you. I still enjoy a raunchy smut book on occasion, and a good mystery is a nice change of pace. 

Maybe I'll add a section to my blog that reviews books. We'll see. (I do need to start keeping a list of some kind, cause I've caught myself getting books from the library that I've already read, but didn't remember it until I started the book. Ooops.)

Ok, enough of this computer, I've got a book waiting. (Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner if you were wondering.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tree Painting

Has it really been two weeks since my last post?!? How did that happen? 

I had seen a raffia fall wreath over at The Hand Me Down House and thought it looked easy and cheap, so I decided to give it a try. 

Scratch that. I was going to do a post on the raffia wreath today, but I can't find the pictures! Sigh. Pardon the tangent here...

We have two computers in our house and I thought the pics were on the one I'm currently using. When I couldn't find them, I thought...oh, maybe they are on my thumb drive.  So, I spent 10 minutes looking for my thumb drive. Nope, not there. That means they must be on the OTHER computer. And to be honest, I just don't feel like booting that one up at the moment.

So, I've decided to show you a painting a did a couple of years ago instead.  One day while wandering around in Pier 1, I saw this painting I really, really, really liked. It was a tree with shades of reds and oranges that kinda blended into each other. Very cool. (I looked for a picture online, but like I said, it's been a couple of years so they don't have it anymore. Sorry!) Until I saw the price tag, $300. Um, yeah...I don't think so. And the more I looked at it the more I thought...hey, I could do that.

I really like the way it turned's not exactly like the one at Pier 1, but since it's an orignal (hee hee) I think it's better.  I think it took me maybe an hour total. I let the base colors dry before I painted the tree.

I went to Michael's and bought a canvas and just used regular old acrylic craft paint. Super easy and cheap! If I remember right the canvase was $10-14 and the acrylic paint was $3 (for all the colors). I'd say that $17 is pretty good for a nice sized piece of art!

(On a side note, the candle sconces on either side of the painting used to be silver. The silver really didn't go with well with the red/orange painting, so I painted them a bronze metallic with spray paint. I actually like them much better now!)

As soon as I get up the gumption to boot up the other computer and find the wreath pictures, I'll do that other post. I promise!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's here! It's here! It's finally here!

Oh happy day! I got my IKEA catalog in the mail! I'm soooo friggin' excited! (Can't you tell by all of the exclamation marks?!?!)

I love IKEA, but here's the thing. I've actually only been in an actual store one time. About 3 years ago. Sigh. While living in Colorado, there wasn't one even remotely close. BUT, there were rumors that one was going to be built. Then, the economy tanked and nothing happened. Now, we are back in the north country and there is one in Minneapolis! Yay! (Right next to Mall of America no less.) 

Why after all this time have I just now decided to order a catalog you ask? Well, we are going to be moving out of our cheap, crappy rental house (I can't wait!) into a new to us house. This new to us house needs quite a bit of updating/fixing up. And, the kids rooms are going to be quite a bit smaller than what we've had in the past. And, IKEA has such great kids/organizing stuff. And, it seems like every room inspiration room I've been looking at online or in mags lately has something from IKEA in it. 

So, I thought it would be a good idea to get the catalog, that way I can dog-ear pages and circle the things I HAVE TO HAVE. This will make me uber-prepared for when we make the trip to the Twin Cities to see it all live and in person. I can hardly wait!

IKEA here I come (sooner or later)!

(The new to us house also means lots of remodeling/before and after posts....look for them this winter!)