Saturday, 31 December 2011

Last day of 2011

I am feeling optomistic & positive about the new year ahead. The past 2 months have kicked us in the teeth, so it can only get better right?

Other than the afore mentioned past 2 months, 2011 was pretty uneventful and went by pretty quickly.

I truely think 2012 is the year for changes, for the better that is.

I'm not going to make New Years' resolutions or anything, but aim to do better in all I do.

Wishing all my friends & family alike, a wonderful, healthy, happy, joyous New Year!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

I did two watercolour paintings today

I am finally getting my art mojo back.

This is my friend Melody's dog Cady.

And this is hubs' dog Kodi when he was a pup. It is outlined in ink then colured with watercolours - it looks more cartoonish.

Each painting took only a couple of hours.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Seems I like to art late at night

I did this watercolour between 11pm & 12:30 last night/this morning.

I have to find something other than Bostons to draw/paint though :)

Click image to enlarge. This Boston is my Peanut.

Other art I have done in past few months but forgot to post :)







Saturday, 24 December 2011

Recent art work

I did a pencil sketch of my friend Lisa's Boston Terrier Maggie yeaterday - I spent between 2-3 hours on it.

I think I need to do more pencil sketches, I liked doing it.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Somewhat of an update

I know I haven't been around much other than to post book reviews.

I am going to be somewhat vague here (my longtime readers can email me for details) but the past couple months have been extremely hard. My stress levels are through the roof and I need to get them under control.

Christmas this year will be quiet with only the 3 of us at home. Our usual Boxing day get together has been postponed until Jan 7th. I am hoping the break will help me restore myself. I have been sleeping too much and not well at that. I had lost the few pounds I had regained, to get back to my 20lb loss, but have since gained again.

Things are looking somwhat better, but there is still a lot to come. Starting right after our party Jan 7th, I will be getting back to my lowcarb way of eating - I have been overindulging like crazy and I constantly feel sick. No use trying to go sugar free during the holidays though, so that is the reason for the delay. I will however, do my best to curb the carb craziness somewhat before that.

I'm doing my best to stay positive and keep everyone else positive. I can't belive there are only 4 days til Christmas. Our tree is up but not yet decorated - should probably do that today. I also only have 1/4 of my house decorations up - seems pointless when no one but us will see them.

If I don't get around to posting before Christmas, I want to wish all my lovely readers a wonderful Christmas and a fabulous New Year - may all your hopes & dreams come true and  may you and your families be happy & healthy!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Book review - Valley of Dreams by Lauraine Snelling



Publisher's blurb:
When Cassie Lockwood's mother died, Cassie began travelling with her father's Wild West Show. Along the way, she became an amazingly skillful trick rider and sharpshooter, likened by some to the famous Annie Oakley. When her father passed away, she continued to work with the show, having nowhere else to go.
Now Cassie has discovered that "Uncle" Jason, the show's manager, has driven the show into debt, and he's absconded with what little money was left. Devastated, Cassie decides to try to find the hidden valley in the Black Hills of South Dakota where her father had dreamed of setting down roots. She has only one clue. She needs to find three huge stones that look like fingers on a giant hand. With Chief, a Sioux Indian who's been with the act for twenty years, and Micah, the head wrangler, she leaves the show and a bundle of heartache behind and begins a wild and daring adventure.
Will they find the valley before winter closes in on them?

My review: I must say I have never been this disappointed in a book before. That publisher's blurb tells only half the story - literally. There is one storyline about Cassie and her friends and then suddenly there is a completely different storyline about others you have never been introduced to.

The writing was mediocre at best. A huge portion of both stories could simply be cut out and thrown away as it added nothing to the plot at all. Hearing about how one brother hates to milk the cow is sufficiently stated once, we don't need to be reminded 4 more times. Telling us about mundane tasks in great detail did nothing to add to the intrigue.

I was patiently waiting for the story lines to merge and they finally do - on the very last page! To completely leave us hanging. Now I know this is the first book in the series, but you finish one book before you write the next - this book is NOT finished - it simply ended! It is like the publisher missed inserting the last chapter.

I would not recommend reading this book unless you have all books at once so you can continue the story and plenty of time to read all the boring parts.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group". 

Book review - A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander

Publisher's blurb:
Claire Laurent's greatest aspiration is to paint something that will bring her acclaim. Yet her father insists she work as a copyist. A forger. When she's forced to flee from New Orleans to Nashville only a year after the War Between the States has ended, her path collides with attorney Sutton Monroe. She considers him a godsend for not turning her in to the authorities. But after he later refuses to come to her aid, Claire fears she's sorely misjudged the man. Finding herself among the elite of Nashville's society, Claire believes her dream to create a lasting impression in the world of art is within reach--but only if her fraudulent past remains hidden.
The Federal Army has destroyed Sutton's home and confiscated his land, and threatens to destroy his family's honor. His determination to reclaim what belongs to him and to right a grievous wrong reveals a truth that may cost him more than he ever imagined--as well as the woman he loves.
Set at Nashville's historic Belmont Mansion, a stunning antebellum manor built by Mrs. Adelicia Acklen, A Lasting Impression is a sweeping love story about a nation mending after war, the redemption of those wounded, and the courage of a man and woman to see themselves--and each other--for who they really are.

My Review: I LOVED this story. It was fast paced enough that it did not get boring, it had twists that kept you guessing. The characters were likable and well developed. The various storylines were as intriguing as the main one. I would recommend this book to others.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Book Review - Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh


Publisher's blurb:
Can one Christmas change a life forever?
Rick Denton lives his life on his terms. He works hard, plays hard, and answers to no one. So when his mother calls begging him to come home after his stepfather has an aneurysm, Rick is more than a little reluctant. What was supposed to be just a couple days helping out at the family bookstore turns into weeks of cashing out old ladies and dealing with the homeless guy who keeps hanging around the store. The one bright spot is the lovely and intriguing young woman who works at his side each day.
As Christmas nears, Rick's old life beckons, the hurts from his past loom large, and the decisions he makes will determine more than just where he spends Christmas Eve.
With skillful storytelling, Dan Walsh creates a Christmas story that will have you remembering every good and perfect gift of Christmas.

My review:  I can add this to the list of books I have been disappointed in. It starts off well enough but quickly leads into details about a guy with a huge chip on his shoulder for no apparent reason. The characters were 2 dimensional and boring. I guessed the mystery of the story almost at the beginning. I would not recommend this book to others.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group". 

Book Review - The Christmas Shoppe by Melody Carlson


Publisher's blurb:
The small town of Parrish Springs is not quite ready for Matilda Honeycutt.
A strange older woman with scraggly gray hair and jewelry that jangles as she walks, Matilda is certainly not the most likely person to buy the old Barton Building on the town's quaint main street. When it becomes apparent that her new shop doesn't fit the expectations of Parrish Springs residents, a brouhaha erupts. After all, Christmas is approaching, and the last thing the town needs is a junky shop run by someone who looks and acts like a gypsy. But as townsfolk venture into the strange store, they discover that old memories can bring new life and healing.
Once again, Melody Carlson delivers a Christmas story that will touch hearts and delight the senses. Sure to be a classic, The Christmas Shoppe is filled with the special magic the best Christmas stories share—that intangible mixture of nostalgia, joy, and a little bit of magic.

My review: This is a quaint story that starts off fine, but then seems to lose its' hold on the reader. A basic "goodwill to others" "forgive & forget" type of message I found.  The ending reads as if the author just ran out of steam and wrapped everything up - I was not overwhelmed. I would not recommend this book to others.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group". 

Book Review - A Lancaster Country Christmas by Suzanne woods Fisher



Publisher's blurb: Mattie Riehl was hoping to give her husband, Sol, the Christmas gift they have both longed for--news that a baby was on the way. But as usual, she is disappointed. The holidays bring an acute awareness to Mattie that her dream of a big Amish family isn't likely to become a reality. Will those empty chairs at the table ever be filled?
Then a winter storm raging outside blows an impatient young woman and her husband into the Riehl home on Christmas Eve--and into a much slower pace of life.
Both couples are about to find out if they can weather the storm--and if miracles still happen at Christmastime.

My Review: I enjoyed parts of this book but not others. I found the contrast between the two families extremely interesting. I liked learning about the Amish. I did find the relationship between Mattie and her husband to be somewhat unrealistic and I found the ending lacking. I don't think I would recommend this book to others.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group". 

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Am loving this song by Adele

Set fire to the rain

Thursday, 17 November 2011

My Own Lil Party

My boys (hubs & kid) are going hunting tomorrow morning and will be away until at least Saturday evening, perhaps even until Sunday noonish, if all goes well and they don't freeze.

I will have the house ALL to myself (well, except for the pups).

I plan to get some serious arting done, read some good books while drinking tea, stay in my jammies all day, eat bowls full of popcorn while watching the latest Harry Potter movie and having an all round fun time ALL BY MYSELF  :)

Hope you all have a great weekend too!

Book Review - Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin



Pulblisher's Blurb:
I was perfectly content with my life--that is, until the pages of my story were ripped out before I had a chance to live happily ever after.
Alice Grace Ripley lives in a dream world, her nose stuck in a book. But the happily-ever-after life she's planned on suddenly falls apart when her boyfriend breaks up with her, accusing her of living in a world of fiction instead of the real one. To top it off, Alice loses her beloved library job because of cutbacks due to the Great Depression.
Longing to run from small-town gossip, Alice flees to the mountains of eastern Kentucky to deliver five boxes of donated books to the tiny coal-mining town of Acorn, a place with no running water, no electricity, and where the librarians ride ornery horses up steep mountain passes to deliver books. When Alice is forced to stay in Acorn far longer than she planned, she discovers that real-life adventure, mystery--and especially romance--may be far better than her humble dreams could have imagined.

My Reveiw: I enjoyed reading this engaging book - it was easy to get into and for the most part, held my attendion, there was a somewhat slow part in the middle that I had to work my way through and it soon got interesting again. I liked being reminded of all the modern convinences that we all take for granted. I like the idea of simplicity, yet not quite the backwoods roughing it that the people of this small town were used to. I would recommend this book to others.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Book Review - Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist



Publisher's blurb:

It's a Battle of Wills ... and Love Is on the Line!
Rural switchboard operator Georgie Gail is proud of her independence in a man's world . . . which makes it twice as vexing when the telephone company sends a man to look over her shoulder.
Dashing Luke Palmer is more than he appears though. He's a Texas Ranger working undercover to infiltrate a notorious gang of train robbers. Repairing telephones and tangling with this tempestuous woman is the last thing he wants to do. But when his stakeout puts Georgie in peril, he realizes more than his job is on the line.

My Review: I found this book a really fun read. It had an interesting story that didn't fall into any dull spots. I enjoyed the various info on bird watching too. I would recommend this book to others.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Sorry I've MIA

Had company for a few days last week and then things just got busy.

Still no job, however.

I have been perusing Pinterest.com - very cool site.

Here are a few things I like. Click the link in the upper right to see the original posts.

I would LOVE this laundry room.

Or this bath/shower.

Indoor spa retreat anyone?

And afterwards sit by one of these.

And later that night go here or here.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

No need for expensive dog toys...

an old bit of fleece and she is good to go!


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Saturday, 22 October 2011

Thursday, 20 October 2011

And even more arty stuffs

Another page in my doodle journal started tonight while watching another online friend stream while arting live.

This is a bookmark I made for yet another online arty friend - the image is from an old Little Woman book - don't yell at me for cutting up a book - that is what I bought for! ($2 from the thrift shop).


I also made her this cute little ATC using a door image from a Home Depot flyer. Then I decided that is need the entire house around it, so fashioned an envelope into a house form. I think it is cute :)

 


Recent Art & Life Stuff

A doodle page I did last night while watching a friend stream live on Ustream.


I survived mother in-law being here but really do not want to do that too often. She was supposed to be here only a week but that got extended to 2 weeks.

I have been submitted to a few jobs, but still no solid leads or interviews yet.

Technology saved the day today - Jarrod forgot his science project which is due today, at home this morning. His teacher said as long as I could email her a photo to prove he had it finished, she wouldn't deduct any marks - so Jarrod phoned me, then texted me her email address, I took the pic and emailed it to her. Whew - he can hand it in tomorrow :)

A couple more pages done in my art journal.







One last photo to make you smile. Peanut has decided to try to kill my printer everytime it does something. Too funny!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Bostoberfest 2011

Partytime for the pup!

We attended this event last year - I blogged about it here.

This year there didn't seem to be as many dogs as last year. We stayed for about 2 hours - Peanut had a ball!

Peanut is wearing the pink harness.












And now some videos - they are all pretty short.
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Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Only a matter of time

My mother in-law is visiting.

Some of the things I have heard (many of them several times over!)

MIL: that woman is too pale, she should put on some makeup.
MIL: Tsk look how short her skirt is!
MIL: (while watching a cooking show) Is SHE going to eat ALL that!
MIL: (same cooking show) Look at ALL the butter she is putting in!
MIL: Smith?! He is Indian, his name can't be Smith!
MIL: (after reading a crime novel of mine) Why do people write that stuff, it is HORRIBLE!
MIL: She looks like she didn't comb her hair.


ME: (Watching a cop on the news commend rescue workers "My hands off to them...")
"It's HATS off to them dumbass" I shout at the TV

OH MY GOSH - it is rubbing off on me!

5 days to go - pray for me!

Book Review - Necessary Deception by Laurie Alice Eakes



Publisher's blurb:
When young widow Lydia Gale helps a French prisoner obtain parole, she never dreams she will see him again. But just as the London Season gets under way, the man presents himself in her parlor. While she should be focused on getting her headstrong younger sister prepared for her entrée into Society, Lady Gale finds herself preoccupied with the mysterious Frenchman. Is he a spy or a suitor? Can she trust him? Or is she putting herself and her family in danger?

Discover a world of elegance and intrigue, balls and masquerades as Laurie Alice Eakes whisks you into the drawing rooms of London Society on this exciting quest to let the past stay in the past--and let love guide the future.

My Review: I can't say I liked this book much. Perhaps it was the time it took place, but I did not like the  tedious details of the requirements of the era - the chaperones, the servants, the season or coming out, the endless entourages they seemed to require. It didn't add to the story for me. The story itself, I found weak at best. The author's attempt at cliffhangers at chapter's end, only served to confuse. I had to make myself finish this book. Had I not had to write a review, I would have set it aside.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

Monday, 10 October 2011

Book Reveiw - Deadly Pursuits by Irene Hannon



Publisher's blurb:  
A stalker with deadly intent . . .
A woman who protects children . . .
An ex-Navy SEAL turned police detective.

Social worker Alison Taylor has a passion for protecting children. But now it seems she needs protecting. When her tormentor's attentions take a violent turn, she calls in reinforcements--her police-detective brother, Cole, and his new partner, ex-Navy SEAL Mitch Morgan. As her relentless stalker turns up the heat and the danger intensifies, Mitch takes a personal interest in the case. Because protecting Alison has become more than a job; his future depends on keeping her safe.

Filled with nail-biting suspense and heart-melting romance, Deadly Pursuit is Irene Hannon's storytelling at its very best.

My Review: I really enjoyed this fast-paced story. The characters were fully believable and likable. Never a boring moment with the various storylines. A real page-turner, I read it all through in one sitting. Even my mother in-law, who usually takes weeks to finish a book is half way through it since picking it up yesterday :)

I would recommend this book to others.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Book Review - House of Secrets BY Tracie Peterson



Publisher's blurb:
They vowed, as children, to be silent...
When her father orchestrates a surprise trip to the summer house of her childhood, Bailee Cooper is unprepared for what follows. What is intended to be a happy reunion for Bailee and her sisters quickly becomes shrouded by memories from the past.
Together again, the three sisters sift through their recollections of fifteen years ago...of an ill mother, and of their father making a desperate choice. One sister believes their silence must end and the truth be revealed. But they soon come to wonder if they can trust their memories.
Mark Delahunt arrives in the wake of this emotional turmoil. Determined to win Bailee's affection, Mark becomes a strong fortress for her in this time of confusion, and what was once a tentative promise begins to take root and grow. Caught between the past and an uncertain future, can Bailee let God guide her to healing...or will she risk losing the chance to embrace love?

My Review: I enjoyed this story...in the beginning. It had a lot of intrigue with all the family secrets and lies...but then midway, it seems to just switch from a decent story to nothing but blind faith in God.

What I mean by blind faith, is that belief that God will solve all your problems if you just ask him to - that you don't have to put any effort into solving them yourself, just believe. I know a lot of people feel that way but I think it is nuts. God gave us free will for a reason - we create our own destiny.

Anyhow, midway through the book it seemed like the storyline just died and was replaced with how we should be dedicated to God. The main character initially does not have much faith in God and then suddenly, she is willing to accept that he will solve all her problems - just doesn't seem realistic to me.

Not really a book I would recommend.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group". 

Friday, 7 October 2011

On my mind...

On my mind today is my mother in-law. She had been visiting her sister near Ottawa for the month of September. My husband drove out and picked her up last Friday and brought her to stay with us for a few days.

Her memory is getting extremely bad. She mentions the same thing to me with several minutes of talking about it before. Her daughter had her to the doctor last year to be checked for Alzheimer's but the Dr said is is just her age - what a bunch of bunk! She is 80 yrs old and can't remember a conversation from 10 mins ago! that is not normal.

Anyhoo..Hubs drove her to his brother's place yesterday because she had an eye appt that he was taking her to. Shortly after they left, her daughter called (the one she lives with) to say that she was taking an additional week off so Mom could stay here longer if she wanted to.

So hubs has to drive out to his brother's in Toronto tomorrow to pick her up again and she will stay until next Sunday the 16th.

I literally sighed a breath of relief when she left yesterday, now she is coming back. She spoke to hubs last night to make arrangements to come back and then called an hour later completely forgetting the previous call - she didn't remember even after he reminded her of what they talked about.

I know none of this is her fault, but it is really difficult sometimes when you have to constantly repeat yourself - I should be used to this, I do have a teenager right? :)

So tomorrow morning I have a CT scan scheduled and then we will drive out to pick her up again. I also have to plan meals for while she is here - she is a somewhat picky eater.

Monday is Canadian Thanksgiving, so that is one meal I don't have to think about - turkey is already out to thaw. End of vent :)

Have a great weekend all.

On my mind brought to you by Down to Earth

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Bits & Bobs

Here are a few artist trading cards I have made and sent to other recently.







Also a pic of my silly dog - she flipped her bed over and this is what she did when she couldn't flip it back.