Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Letterboxing Anthem

Product Review . . . chocolate chai tea and chinese food

I spotted this little beauty of the grocery store shelf the other day and just had to try it.  Two of my favourite food groups:  Chocolate and Chai Tea.  I brewed myself a cup when I got home and I have to say its not bad.  Not as chocolatey as I thought it might be and it wasn't as spicy as chai tea usually is . . . but not bad.

My favourite drink in the whole world.  
  • 1 cup (275ml), 35, 0g, 3g, 5g

And of course, to make my new favourite drink, a Tassimo coffee maker.  This little beauty is so simple and quick to operate.  I use it 2-3 times a day.  I have this older model which I picked up through a buy, sell and swap group for a great price.

Poor old St. Thomas' Kings Buffet.  They have had a rough time in the press and on social media lately.  They were recently closed down for a couple of days by the Health Unit for some infractions.  Now all I hear is ew, I'm never going back there because they have bugs and serve cat.  Seriously!  LOL.  You can see they are trying hard to bring back business with sales and promotions.  This past week lunch was around $5 and supper was $10 (rounded).  Guess what?  This is probably now the cleanest restaurant in town.  They would have to be to reopen AND they are now subject to random inspections for the next while.  I wonder just how clean other St. Thomas restaurants are?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ohio Star

Just finished the second square for my oddball afghan.  Definitely needs to be blocked but I think it is pretty cool.  Pyjama Stripes is next.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Book Review: Shopaholic & Baby by Sophie Kinsella

I really enjoyed reading the continuing love story of Becky, Luke and Luke's credit cards.  Sophie is an interesting person . . . very interesting.  I don't think I've ever met anyone quite like her before.

Becky is pregnant and everything needs to be perfect from the designer nursery to the designer obstetrician.  But life can never be perfect.  Becky and Luke run into some serious problems like the department store she works for is going broke.  Luke is having business headaches and is never home.  And the designer obstetrician is not only gorgeous and perfect, she is also Luke's ex-girlfriend.

Somehow Becky and Luke make it all work.  But it is a heck of a ride getting there.  For a totally funny, summer read I recommend this book.

Now I have to go looking for more of Kinsella's books.

Movie Review: Bubba Ho-Top (2003)

From Leonard Maltin's 151 Best Movies You've Never Seen . . . let me present to you the thrilling  Bubba Ho-Tep . . .

I just watched this on Netflix yesterday.  I'm usually not interested in monsters back from the dead kind of movies but Maltin hasn't steered me wrong yet so I decided to give it a try.

OMG . . . this movie is awful.  The story is that Elvis Presley wanted out of the music business so he found an impersonator to take over his life and he took over the impersonators life.  One night he falls off the stage at a Elvis-look-alike show and breaks his hip, ending up in a coma and waking up in the Shady Rest Nursing Home where he befriends JFK who is now black.  They took out part of JFKs brain and dyed his skin so he wouldn't remember that he was who he was and no one would be able to recognize him.  But the sand must have shifted because he remembers now.

Okay stop laughing.  It gets worse.  A mummy with a curse is stolen from an exhibit and lost by the mummy-nappers in an accident.  The mummy wants to live so he has to steal souls.  Where better to steal souls than a nursing home where a few dead residents will hardly be noticed?  The problem with stealing old souls is that they are kind of weak so the mummy has to steal lots of souls.

Are you still with me so far?  So Elvis and Kennedy gird for battle with a walker and an electric wheelchair to take out the evil cursed soul-sucking mummy.

I think I have to go watch it again . . . If you are a fan of B movies or movies of the soul-sucking mummy variety you should really check this movie one out.  If you don't have a warped sense of humour, I would just skip it all together.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sometimes I think I am so clever . . .

I dabble in eBay from time to time.  Nothing serious.  A dollar here, a couple of dollars there.  Mostly craft supplies.  A few weeks ago I won an auction for double-pointed bamboo knitting needles.  I paid a ridiculously low price and the shipping was free.  I have always wanted bamboo needles and just couldn't afford them.  I figured that if they were crappy I wouldn't really be out much money.   They arrived the other day and they are lovely and smooth and polished and ready to use . . . until I looked at the labels . . . the sizes were all printed in Chinese . . . LOL . . . I have a measuring gauge for needles but what a pain that would be measuring them all the time.

When I took the bundle of needles apart today to photograph them for this blog post, I found the numbers carefully etched into each needle.  Thank goodness.

Book Review: Writing A Great Research Paper

Book give-away at the end of this article!!!!!

I just finished reading The College Student's Guide to Writing a Great Research Paper:  101 Easy Tips & Tricks to Make Your Work Stand Out by Erika Eby about 2 AM.  This is going to sound a little nerdy but . . . it was a really great read.  I write.  Eby offers advice on writing.  It is the same as my husband reading a book on cars.

The book is geared to the college student but I say why wait until college.  I think this book is appropriate for seniors in high school with important projects to complete.  I also think all writers could profit from reading this book.  I learned several new ideas which I plan on incorporating into my own writing including holding the pages upside down to check for formatting errors.  I have never heard of that before.

Eby breaks the whole process down to simple steps by step instructions with lots of advice and lots of examples.  I am a person who needs lots of examples.  It is easy to read.

I recommend this book.

I would like to gift this book to someone.  Leave me a comment and let me know what you or your student is studying this year.  I know this book will help them have a very successful year at school.  Start commenting . . . 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Happy 29th Anniversary

Okay, before you even look at the following layout, keep in mind it was done about 15 years ago before I had a clue what I was doing.

Now you can look . . .

 . . . and here we are now . . .

A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf

Reading this book has been on my list for a very long time. I wonder why it took so long to pick it up and read it?

Woolf's book is a compilation of speeches she gave at the women's colleges at Cambridge in 1929. Her thesis is that "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." Having a room of one's own doesn't necessarily mean a room with a door and a lock and key to shut out the world. More likely it refers to the space to engage in uninterrupted time to write or perhaps privacy, leisure time and financial independence. During Woolf's time women rarely had this luxury and their art suffered for it. Woolf believed that until gender inequalities are rectified, women will remain second-class citizens, lacking the time, education and support necessary to explore their creativity and any achievements they do make will be marked as second-class as well.

Some claim that this book is perhaps the single most important work of feminist literary criticism. I believe that Woolf made a solid case for gender equality which still resonates today.

Why did I wait so long to read it? Perhaps because I wasn't ready yet.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Oddball Afghan: Flower Beds

Many many years ago I started making the very odd squares which make up the oddball afghan.  I finished 5 or 6 of the squares and then life got in the road.  After sitting in a basket for several years I must have given them away.

Now, you know I promised myself not to start any big projects until the end of the summer.  Well, the end of summer is nearly here and I've always wanted to complete this afghan.  So it is now officially on my Dreaded To Do List.

I just finished the first square, Flower Beds, tonight.  I'll be starting Ohio Star next.

Wait until you see what other big projects I've put on my list.  Its going to be busy around here for a while.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Lacy Zig Zags Dishcloth designed by Janet Nogle

Another great mystery knit-along dishcloth . . . I just love this pattern!!!!!

Book Review: Thy Father's Will by K J Stasney

I love to read at night.  The problem is that sometimes a book is so compelling that I have to keep on reading long after I should have been asleep.  Thy Father's Will by Kirsten Jacobson Stasney is just such a book.

Stasney is the graddaughter of Anna Marvick Jacobson and the great-granddaughter of Joseph Marvick.  Joseph Marvick is a good man, a wealthy businessman and respected church leader in Story City Iowa during the early 1900s.  A widower, he relies on his sister and then his older daughters to run his home.  They are a happy family who love, respect and obey their father.  Joseph makes good decisions for his family such as where they should go to school and who they should marry.  He does a very good job of leading his children to lives of prosperity, health and happiness until the one day he makes a bad decision.

The results of that decision causes the death of his only son, changes the future of his daughters and sends his favourite daughter, the one who reminds him most of his late wife, to a life of drudgery and abuse.  Joseph tries so hard to repair the damage he has done.  He can't forgive himself for the consequences of his decisions even though he made them for all the right reasons.

The story is riveting, sometimes heartbreaking and the end was a big shock to me.  The author has taken the time to research her family and the time they lived in to make the backgrounds interesting and informative and to help us understand a little better.

If you are looking for an excellent read, look no further.

School House Dishcloth

Another mystery knit-along dishcloth finished . . .

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Movie Review: The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio

I still have my trusty list of Leonard Maitlin's 151 Best Movies You've Never Seen.  Leonard Maitlin is a film critic and cinema historian.  The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio is on his list.

Starring Julianne Moore and Woody Harrelson, the story is quite endearing.  Harrelson plays Kelly Ryan, a factory worker barely making enough money to support his wife and ten children.  Moore plays his wife, Evelyn.  Kelly is given to drinking binges and fits of rage.  When Kelly isn't drinking they are a happy family.

Evelyn has a skill which keeps the family going.  She writes prize winning jingles and sells the prizes when they arrive.  The problem is that her constant wins further alienate Kelly.  Although this scenario may sound like a "downer" the  movie is actually interesting, sweet and even funny at times.

I was very surprised to learn this movie is based on a book and the book is based on a true character.  This is a put-my-feet-up-with-a-cup-of-tea-in-the-afternoon kind of movie.  Enjoy.

Paint on, paint off . . .

To create this tag you will need a piece of white cardstock, black cardstock, a foam alphabet stamp and a rubber or acrylic patterned stamp, black acrylic paint and a foam brush.

 Brush black acrylic paint on to the foam alphabet stamp.

Press the rubber or acrylic patterned stamp into the paint on the foam stamp carefully.  You should notice that the paint is lifted off the foam stamp where touched by the patterned stamp.

Stamp your painted image onto the white cardstock.

Now that you have your stamped impression, it is time to find some fun embellishments to decorate it.  I chose 3 different ribbons, a crocheted flower and a stem of beads.

 Trim your white cardstock, centring the stamped image, to 2-1/4” x 4-1/4” or the size necessary to keep your stamped image intact if it is larger.  Snip off the top corners of your tag.  A simple trick to make both corners identical is to trim the first corner then flip the cut off piece and hold it over the second corner.  Snip.

Trim a piece of black cardstock 2-1/2” x 4-1/4”.  Adhere the white tag to the black cardstock.  Punch out a small circle of black cardstock and adhere it centred near the top of the tag.  Use a punch to punch a hole in the centre of the black circle.  I prefer putting tags together this way because it is the simplest way.

Tie ribbons through the hole in the tag.  Adhere the flower and stems of beads to the tag with glue dots.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Book Review: Jackson by Paul Vickery

I have just finished reading Jackson:  The Iron-Willed Commander by Paul Vickery.  The book is extremely well written with a great deal of background to help you understand the context of Jackson's story.  

Andrew Jackson rose from an orphan to the lofty heights in the White House as a result of his grit and ambition.  As a general he was strong-willed charismatic man, respected by his men.  In one incident he stopped a brigade's mutiny by himself.  

Jackson had strong opinions about the British and Spanish, as well as the First Nations tribes, believing they compromised the new country's sense of nationalism and security and must be controlled or removed.  He never swerved from these beliefs, sometimes bringing him glory and other times causing scandal.

Admired him or not, he was an extraordinary man for an extraordinary time.  I'm glad I had the opportunity to read this book.