Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bizarro Vintage Easter Greetings

Welcome to Vintage Thingies Thursday! In my search for the cute Easter images I shared with you last week, I came across many not-so-cute, and downright creepy vintage greetings. I shared a view weird ones last year for Blue Monday and Pink Saturday, and I think sharing weird vintage images for holidays may become a tradition here at the castle of the Evil Overlord.
Here we have rabbits playing baseball. Now, baseball IS a spring sport, but what does it have to do with Easter? And the chickens as spectators look a little frightening to me.
I know chickens lay the eggs we color for the holiday, but why would their courting rituals be a part of it?
Knitting socks? For chickens? Won't they just snag all the way down?
Why does this Easter bunny look so grumpy? He only works one day a year! It makes me wonder if he has to color all the eggs himself. I've never heard of him having elves like Santa, have you?
A frog in striped boxers juggling colored eggs for an audience of baby chicks. Just strange!
Would you send anything even remotely like this as an Easter card? Here's hoping that your Easter isn't as strange as these greetings!
More great Vintage Thingies are being shared at ColoradoLady, where our hostess Suzanne has a big find from the Goodwill store. Go check it out!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Own Personal Soap Opera

Libby Malin's My Own Personal Soap Operais the hysterical tale of Frankie McNally, head writer for the long-running soap opera Lust for Life. Growing up, Frankie watched the show every day with her mother, and it still one of their biggest connections. Frankie is doing all she can to hold things together at the struggling serial, with a writing team that could be a cast of characters on their own show, and a disinterested producer only looking for his next step on the corporate ladder. When Victor Pendergast, head of the corporation that sponsors the show begins taking an active interest in scripts and the daily behind-the-scenes doings, Frankie's low confidence in herself and weak sense of authority roll into overdrive, causing her to say and do foolish things, usually around Victor. The two manage to pull together a balanced working environment based on strong personal interests in keeping Lust for Life alive. With Victor's strength and Frankie's creative ideas, the two are able to pull together a team that can breath Life back into Lust!
Being honest, I must say that at the beginning of My Own Personal Soap OperaI found Frankie's low self-confidence and constant straining to assert her authority annoying. But as she saw her ideas working out, and trusted Victor's belief in her, she became the person I wanted her to be.
In the end I was confident that she could lead her staff and bring up the ratings on Lust for Life. My Own Personal Soap Opera is a super-fun read, especially as we move into beach reading season!
Looking for more books? Check out some of the reviews at Cym Lowell's Book Review Party! I find something new there every week!
Official FTC Disclosure: I received an uncorrected advance copy of this book from Sourcebooks, so I could write this review. I received no other compensation.


Monday, March 29, 2010

What I'm Reading & What's In the Mailbox 3/29

Mailbox Monday, hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page is a meme where folks share the yummy books that showed up at our doors! WARNING: Mailbox Mondays can lead to extreme envy and GINORMOUS wishlists!! Pretty empty mailbox this week, but the one book that arrived I was very excited about. Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross came from the goodreads swap. Even though I was still reading another book, I immediately jumped into Pope Joan when I finished opening the mail. I'm excited to read about this hidden figure from history. 

It's Monday, What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through Books.This is yet another opportunity to make other bibliophiles jealous of the good stuff you got to enjoy the past week.
Laughed my way through Farm Fatale by Wendy Holden, the story of a young couple moving from London to a little village. I've got to get more of her books to read, especially for the beach this summer!
I read book 3 in the Moreland Dynasty by Cynthia Harrod Eagles, The Princeling, which I got from my library, as well as her well-researched I, Victoria, the fictional autobiography of Queen Victoria.
I got 1 book review written last week, Get Lucky by Katherine Center, but there's still a big pile staring at me. I even have them stacked right next to the computer for inspiration!
  • Men and Dogs by Katie Crouch
  • Beautiful People by Wendy Holden
  • The Founding by Cynthia Harrod Eagles
  • Watermark by Vanitha Sankaran (I'll be having a giveaway!)
  • The Dark Rose by Cynthia Harrod Eagles
  • Farm Fatale by Wendy Holden

Friday, March 26, 2010

Escape is at Hand!

The EtsyBloggers Street Team is writing about surviving the winter doldrums for this week's team blog carnival. I've had the doldrums here, for sure! The Winter doldrums move in and sometimes feel like they are smothering us. Gray days, constant snow or rain, blech! Here in the Boston area we had snow in December and January, but February and early March have just been yucky rain. It's on these days that I am so glad I don't have to go to work! I stay in my jammies, drink tea, and have soup or chili.
We were tricked with what appeared to be an early spring. Sunny with temperatures in the 50s and 60s for 2 weeks, and now we are getting a cold, windy rain storm today, with some places even getting snow!
Seasoned New Englanders know not to trust these little bursts, but the doldrums and the teasing of spring makes me want to make fun spring and summer jewelry, especially anklets, and I've listed a few this week, too.
I also made a dozen of my inner balance anklets as party favors for a friends' daughter's birthday. It is a spa theme and the other favors are headbands to wear during facials, mood rings while they do yoga, and my anklets for the footbath/pedicures. Cute idea, huh?
Making things with bright colors is a great way to zip up a gray day!
All of these anklets are available in my Little Somethings shop. Don't forget to tell me in the notes to seller that you're a blog visitor and you'll receive a refund on shipping. Something kicky and fun like a bright anklet will definitely melt the winter doldrums!
What do you do to climb out of the doldrums? Has spring been teasing you, too?


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

VTT: Fun Easter Greetings

Welcome to Vintage Thingies Thursday, one of my favorite days of the week! Suzanne, our hostess from ColoradoLady invites you to join us with your flea market finds, basement treasures, and decorating delights!
This week I have some cute vintage Easter cards. I like to use these images when I make my own cards or in scrapbooks, cutting out all the details. I don't own any of these actual cards, they are all (supposedly) free images I found online.
I've never heard of an Easter witch, but this one sure looks friendly! I hope she's not dropping eggs from the sky, though!
I've used this bunny couple on a few cards, and enhanced them with pink glitter paint for their mouth, noses, and ears.

Isn't the Easter bunny cute traveling in his Model Ts?
Hope you're planning a fun day with your family for next Sunday! My family likes to go to a really nice buffet at a historical restaurant. For more great vintage goodies, visit our Vintage Thingies Thursday hostess, Suzanne at ColoradoLady. Think about joining us next week with your own treasures!


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Here Burns My Candle

1745 Ediburgh, Scotland is simmering. Bonnie Prince Charlie is riding from the Highlands, determined to reach London and claim the crown for his father, the claimant King James III, son of the deposed King James II. Got all that? Family relationships of royals are always confusing, but the relationships within the Kerr family are the center of Liz Curtis Higgs'Here Burns My Candle. The central characters are Lady Elisabeth Kerr, daughter of a Highland weaver who has married far above her station in the mind of Dowager Lady Marjory Kerr. Marjory pampers her two grown sons, Lord Donald and Andrew, who do nothing wrong in her eyes, while mourning the loss of her beloved husband John many years previously. The family live a fashionable social life until rumblings of a rising against King George begin. People are choosing sides and the Kerr sons enlist to fight for Prince Charlie.
When the Prince takes control of Edinburgh there are parties and functions, parades and fun. Men join his cause and are trained and the army marches for England, making it to the Borderlands, where the Prince's Council votes to turn back because promised English support is not coming. With the English army hot on their heels, the Scots flee north, far into the Highlands. All changes in the city when the Duke of Cumberland takes over. The Kerrs who had been at the heart of Prince Charlie's circle are outcasts and soon officially declared traitors, forfeiting all they own to the Crown. And here the story ends, with the surviving members of the Kerr family (Nope, I didn't tell you who died or how!) en route to a distant relative in the hopes they will be taken in temporarily. The rest of the story will be told in the sequel, Mine is the Night, coming out next spring.
There are many things that make Here Burns My Candle a great historical read, as well as a story about personal growth and faith. First off, it had a map of Edinburgh in 1745, a Scottish glossary, and historical notes from the author. I also liked Ms. Higgs style with the Scottish language, peppering it into characters' speech in such a way that it was easy to understand. The transformation of our two Lady Kerrs, one growing in confidence and her relationship with God, the other learning to appreciate the smaller things in life was well-written, not a slam-over-the-head "Aha!" moment for either, but a gradual growth, as these things usually are in life, but often not in fiction.
The wonderful Smiling Sally recommended Liz Curtis Higgs to me and I am so glad she did! I eagerly await the continuation of the Kerr family story. All of these pictures are from the author's website, where she has a gorgeous slide show of the Kerr's world for you to see. I've also included the movie trailer that will really bring you into the world of 1745 Edinburgh.
Find more great books reviewed at Cym Lowell's Book Review Party!

Official FTC Disclosure: Other than a copy of the book from Waterbook Press, I received no compensation for this review.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

It's Monday, Here's What I'm Reading 3/22

Sadly, no books in my mailbox last week, or from the library. I'm reading way ahead on my ARCs, but procrastinating on the reviews. Finished The Queen's Governess by Karen Harper, which was a library book, and really enjoyed this other perspective into the formative years and early reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Enjoyed Men and Dogs by Katie Crouch and also plowed my way through The Dark Rose by Cynthia Harrod Eagles, the second book in her Moreland Family series.  She's up to 32! The story follows the fictious Moreland family, well-to-do wool merchants beginning during the War of the Roses and going through modern times. The Dark Rose focuses on the reign of Henry VIII. I'm liking them so much I'm not waiting for the next ARC, I've put the third on hold at my library. Started Wendy Holden's Farm Fatale the other day, it's a fun, British, women's story of city people moving to the country. Green Acres, anyone?
So that's my sadly short reading update for this week, although The Dark Rose is almost 600 pages, so that took several days.

Here's all the books for which I need to write reviews, in the order of their publication.
  • Get Lucky by Katherine Center
  • Men and Dogs by Katie Crouch
  • Beautiful People by Wendy Holden
  • The Founding by Cynthia Harrod Eagles
  • Watermark by Vanitha Sankaran (I'll be having a giveaway!)
  • The Dark Rose by Cynthia Harrod Eagles

Have you read anything great this week? Or maybe something by one of these authors?
It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is sponsored by Sheila at One Woman's Journey Through a World of Books. There's lots of great books to hear about over there, so click on by!!


Saturday, March 20, 2010

TSS: My Pride Runneth Over!

It's time for a little reading chat at The Sunday Salon! Folks are sharing what they read, what they like about reading, and other literary thoughts.
I am so proud of my niece that I actually got a little teary a few minutes ago watching a video of her accomplishments! What a total dork I am sometimes! (most of the time?) She has been participating in a program at school called Battle of the Books. Her team consists of 4 sixth grade girls, and an eighth grade boy. They were given a list of 20 books to read as a team, which breaks down to about 4 books per student, but of course they can read them all if they like. There have been check-ins and socials throughout the school year with a team coach/teacher, and the big Battle was held the other day after a big celebratory breakfast. I'm sure you've already guessed who won.
That's right: The Book Worms! The tournament began with 30 teams and the Final Four answered questions about the books in front of the school audience in the auditorium. They beat out teams of 7th and 8th graders, and had the only boy to make it to the finals!
I have always encouraged my niece and nephews to read, and although they don't always like the same things I do, or read as much as I did at their age, they all have the ability to sit down and find information, or finish a novel. Reading as a young person is so important to building vocabulary, knowledge, and imagination. Novels and poetry can take you into worlds you might never imagine on your own, or back in history to live through exciting events or the daily life of making butter in a little house in a big forest. Home improvement, self-help, finance, and travel can all be found within the covers of a book, giving the reader pride in creating, the peace of self-awareness, or the excitement of foreign lands. I can't imagine a world where I wasn't or couldn't read something every day.
How about you? Are you a pleasure reader? Who are some of your favorite authors? What genres do you prefer?


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

VTT: Welcome, Spring!

The first weekend of Spring is upon us! Spring has come early in the Boston area, but we long-time New England residents know not to trust it. It could get cold and even snow again; we've had snow even in the first week of May! Besides being the beginning of Spring, it's also my mom's birthday on Saturday! In honor of her and spring, I am sharing some of vintage jewelry that makes me think of Spring for Vintage Thingies Thursday this week.
This filigree gold-tone butterfly brooch is from a 1970s Sarah Coventry party.
For Easter last year I wore this enamel brooch, and put the clip-on earrings over bobby pins to wear in my hair. Only 1 small jewel is missing from the entire set. The set was made by BSK, a New York company started in the 1940s and closed in the 1970s. Benny Steinberg, Hy Slovitt and Mr Kashe were the founding members of the company, which manufactured higher end costume jewelry.
The enamel of this brooch is the perfect shade of tree-bud green, even though we won't be seeing whole leaves for quite a while!
For more wonderful blasts from the past, be sure to visit Suzanne at ColoradoLady, our Vintage Thingies Thursday hostess.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Opposite of Me: You Have to Read It!

I first "met" Sarah Pekkanen when she commented on some of my chick-lit reviews last summer and fall. When I knew her first novel was being released, I made sure to get my hands on it! The Opposite of Mewas worth the several month wait, and is a wonderful first, but hopefully not last, offering from Sarah Pekkanen.
I would classify this thoughtful story of sisterly relationships as women's literature, rather than super-light chick-lit. Fraternal twins Lindsey and Alex Rose have grown up and apart, as each chisels out her own persona, Lindsey as the smart sister and Alex the pretty one. When Lindsey's New York advertising career implodes, she retreats to her childhood home in Baltimore, telling her family she has been given the task of opening a new branch of her firm. She arrives just in time to attend her sister's engagement party to the gorgeous and wealthy Gary.
Being with her parents and sister for the first time in many years brings up questions of family roles not only for Lindsey, but soon for Alex, when a potentially fatal medical problem is discovered.
Through caring for her sister and living with her parents, Lindsey discovers a big secret that could have changed everything for the sisters roles in the family and the faces they presented to the world. Without giving readers a sappy, wrap-it all up in a bow happy ending, Sarah Pekkanen gives us sisters who have learned about themselves and each other and found that they are more alike than different. Filled with funny family moments, embarrassing parental behavior, and questions of like and love, The Opposite of Me is sure to be a hit. It's great vacation reading, too, because it's in paperback! If you are a library user and not a book buyer, like me, be sure to ask about The Opposite of Meat your local library so they get it to share with everyone!
You can get to know Sarah better at her group blog The Debutante Ball, and meet her co-bloggers/new authors, too
If you're looking for more book recommendations, visit Cym Lowell for Book Review Party Wednesday!