Things I Like


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!  And happy Thursday to the non-US peeps. One day to the weekend :D




I’m doing the open house Friday through Sunday, so I’ll be back then. Safe travels to everyone! 

What I’m reading

Here are a few other books that I finished recently. I was reading a little more a couple months ago, but I’ve just been so tired at night lately that I haven’t wanted to read as per usual. I’ve just wanted to shut my mind off. I know everyone else gets like that on occasion.  The good thing about borrowing books from the library on my Kindle is that they are due in 2 weeks rather than the 4 if I had a hard copy of the book. That pushes me to read them a little faster.



The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

After I read the book The Paris Wife, it made me want to read the actual book that Hemingway wrote during this time period. It’s funny how the characters in the semi-biographical book morphed into the actual writings. Anyway, the book itself. I can see why people like Hemingway’s style of writing. Sentences are crisp and not overdone. They get to the point and it reads quite fast. I had a little trouble when there was a lot of dialogue because Hemingway didn’t use any Joe said or Frank said or whatever to distinguish who is talking. So, at times I had trouble figuring out which character was speaking.

As for the story itself, it follows a group what would seem to be 20 somethings in Paris in the 1920s (there’s that decade again!!). It is post WWI and all of the characters were affected at some point by the war. The story is told through the eyes of Jake and follows him and his friends through a ton of drinking and trying to find happiness in their lives, all culminating with a group trip to Pamplona to watch bull fighting (which Hemingway loved in real life). It seems the big themes of the novel were wanting what you couldn’t have, loneliness and drinking. Lots of drinking. I actually didn’t like any of the characters except for Jake. The others were pretty unlikable. I am interested in some other of Hemingway’s books.Probably this winter I will read another one.






The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

I think this was made into a movie, right? Nothing like being late to the party on popular stuff. Anyway, I had no idea of what this book was about. It’s the story of 14-year old Lily and her housekeeper/surrogate mother Rosaleen. Lily’s mother was killed when she was just 4 years old and Lily was raised by her abusive father in a racially charged town in South Carolina. After Rosaleen was jailed for getting in an argument with some white men, Lily broke her out and they ran away to a city that was on the back of one of her mother’s pictures. There they met a trio of bee keeping sisters and Lily learns a lot more than she bargained for about her family. The book has a strong mother theme and uses the bees to help symbolize family and what it takes to keep a hive going.  It was a good book and read really easily. I found the dialogue to be heavy handed and cliche at times, which took away from the story. I did like how the women were all strong characters, too, each in their own way.


The Martian by Andy Weir

Yep, the popular movie! I had put myself on the wait list for this book months ago and it finally came about a month ago.  For those that haven’t read it or seen the movie, it’s the story of Mark Watney, who gets left behind on Mars when his crew members thought he was dead. It’s the story of his fight for survival and resourcefulness to live to be rescued.

I have to say, I really wanted to like this book more than I did given how hugely popular it is. It was engaging at first, but then I started to get bored with all of the technical details of how Watney jury rigged everything to make what he wanted and it always worked. It seemed every other chapter was “I’m going to try something super dangerous. It could be my last day” Well, at halfway through the book, I doubt that. :roll:  I also found his character to not have a ton of depth. There was very little emotion in his diary writings save for jokes and an occasional thought about his coworkers or parents. He was quite flip most of the time. He never seemed to really break down and talk about the people in his life or anything. I get why this book is popular. It read like a movie.

Does anyone else see the similarity in the covers between the Hemingway and Weir books? Interesting.

What are you reading?

Soaps and trunks

Feeling kind of busy around here. A lot of it my own making, but I just have to hang on for a few more weeks until things settle down.  

I had a visit with my rescue kitty buddy Mister Boo this weekend! House/pet sitting and I got to love on him. One good thing about where we live now is that there are fewer strays.


I spent a lot of time this weekend prepping for the open house. It’s going to be a long weekend. The show runs Fri- Sat – Sun from 10 am to 5pm each day.  At least I get Thursday off this week, hopefully.  Work will probably be spotty this week anyway with a lot of doctors taking the week off.

My soaps ready to go:


Here is the link to my new business: Savonology . It still needs a little tweaking. I keep taking pictures of the soap hoping to make them better. A lot of time spent boxing up the soaps and putting labels on them. I am a little nervous for the show because it has been so long since I have done one, plus being a shy person, talking to people for 3 whole days is exhausting :)


We still were able to squeak in a ride this weekend.  It was 48 degrees on Sunday, but it felt colder because it was breezy and cloudy. Brrr….


No matter how busy we get, exercise is always fit in there. You never regret the time you make for your workouts.

More randomness – the pileated woodpecker visited again. He must have a nest nearby because he circuits around to our yard periodically:


These birds are surprising big, too.

With all that I have going on, I am trying really hard to limit my projects I accumulate.  When I get really busy, there are things that take a back seat, like practicing my guitar and working on my trunks. Somewhat successful on that front until today when a trunk came across my path and the I couldn’t resist the price. I had seen this on my vintage list and resisted, but then the price dropped to 25 dollars. I can only resist so much:


It’s not a really big trunk like some of my others, which is nice. Plus it has this cool stamped metal underneath the paint.


The deal sealer? It doesn’t smell on the inside LOL!  I think John is just resigned to me doing all this stuff because he certainly is not able to stop me :D  I do have enough to keep me busy for about 5 years, though.

Thanksgiving this Thursday and my goal is not to treat this like a whole holiday week withthe  eating. It’s easy for me to say ‘what the heck, it’s a holiday’ starting on Monday, which makes it all the more difficult to get back on track afterward. So, that’s my focus. 

Still riding!

I’ve squeaked in a couple rides this week, including today. November 18 and riding outside.


It’s getting harder to find the time and the temps to ride. In normal riding, I work for a while, then ride, then shower and get back to work. Now, it’s way too cold to ride in the morning (26 degrees), so I have to wait until it gets warm enough to ride. Of course, that also depends on how busy work is, but it’s been doable lately.  Then I can’t ride too late or I bump into the sunset. It gets dark way too early!  Anyway, I’ll take whatever riding I can squeeze in right now. The latest we have biked was a Thanksgiving weekend a few years ago.

I am curious to see if I can get a ride in during December or not. Each time I ride now, I wonder if it is the last outdoor ride. It’s so hard to make that final decision to put the bike on the trainer because it will be there until March at the earliest. This year with the delayed spring, we didn’t even get the bikes on the road until April!  Here is my 2015 mileage after today:


Technically it is 2319.7 since I reset the computer after 10 miles, but a decent total. John ended up with way more miles than I did this year, too.

Little by little we are getting Radiance Manor to our liking. It’s going to take years. We finally got another lamp to replace one with a broken shade. It’s amazing how you can get used to something that looks crappy because you just haven’t gotten around to doing anything about  it. This lamp matches the other one in the living room now. 


Of course, now that I look at the picture, I see our wool duster I left on the munitions box :D  I always miss something. I am the person that  needs tidying up when we go out. John is constantly cutting strings off my clothing or cleaning up hair, lint, etc. There are a few reasons I keep him around.

Just got in some new packaging for my product development. I spent time today taking pictures. These are dead sea salts (lavender).


Gosh I love the Rebel. I am starting to get the hang of lighting. I use white boards to reflect the light to reduce shadows. I do much better taking daylight pictures than trying to set up lighting. That I can’t quite figure out. Anyway, I need to let this product sit a while and see how the jar holds up. It has an essential oil in it. Surprisingly, essential oils are really good solvents. Here’s a tip – don’t ever spill a citrus essential oil on a painted surface or it will strip it. In fact, you should never use them undiluted on your skin, either. Potent stuff.

I’ll be taking part in a 3-day open house Thanksgiving weekend for our local artist colony (for lack of a better word). That will be the official open of the soap biz, so I am working hard getting labels printed and packaging up my stuff. I haven’t done a show in probably 15 years? It’s hard as an introvert, but you do what you have to. 

On an exercise note, Alissa is doing her traditional virtual Thanksgiving 5K – a great way to work off some of that turkey dinner!


You can join here. As per usual, she has some great prizes for participants!

And how is it that Thanksgiving is next week already??


Finished headboard

The prompt for 365 photos on Saturday was Surrounded By. With all the strife going on in the world, I took a picture of this bumper sticker that we have. This is what I wish we were all surrounded by:

Seems naive and just wishful thinking. I am still wishing, though.

We managed to churn out some projects this week. I finally finished the headboard earlier this week. Finally!  I had to put some legs on it. Since we have those cement walls, I didn’t want to try to anchor the headboard to the walls alone. So, I cut a couple 2×4 and made some legs, which I attached with braces. L braces on the sides:


T bracket on the back:


Voila – leg braces. Note, I covered the doorknob/lock holes with a thin piece of wood. They were very rough and splintery and will be behind our heads, so I covered them up.


And in place:


We have a queen size bed and this headboard would fit a king (It’s fit for a king!!) We need to get a new mattress and might talk to the mattress people and see if it would be possible to get a king size mattress up our stairs. We have a split box spring, but the queen mattress was a tight squeeze, so I don’t know if it’s possible. Anyway, I like having a headboard now. Feels more like an official bedroom :D  Next up is new bedding. Some day.

Sunday was just beautiful weather and we were able to get out for a ride!  Me and my riding partner:


Goobers. We are goobers.

It felt great to be outside. 50s still feels pretty warm for riding, especially since they have been lasting for a long time this fall and you get acclimated to riding colder.  We even had to drop jackets part way through the ride:


Showing off my pink again! This jacket glows.

I am almost done with my curtains in the living room. The project started in September… I was stuck for the longest time trying to sew them. When John’s parents came out in October, his mother saved my bacon and hand sewed the panels together for me! I am so thankful for that. I sewed the top rod pocket and the curtains are hung up now. I just need to hem the bottoms to length. I’ll show a picture of those soon.

We had a delay on the sink in the basement. We had to order parts for the faucet and wouldn’t you know they sent the wrong ones. Now we have to wait for them to ship new parts. Of course, these aren’t parts we could find locally. Always a delay. Anyway – that pushed the bathroom part of the project along faster.  That’s been John’s project for the most part. He really went to town on it and that means I have to do my project of a new vanity a lot faster. We are going to take the sink and toilet from our first floor powder room and move them to the basement and redo the first floor.  This is my sewing cabinet for the vanity:


I had to remove this sewing machine from it to get a usable cabinet:


It wasn’t that hard, actually, and I will be listing this in my vintage groups to see if someone wants the machine. Now to work on the finish and get a vessel sink and faucet. This project really excites me. I think it is going to look cool. The upstairs bath won’t take that long to do (relatively speaking) with new flooring, paint and new fixtures.  We probably will try to get that done before our annual Christmas Eve dinner.

Still busy as ever. Working on top of getting my soap business up and running (a couple more weeks on that). I seriously have a problem LOL.

Thoughts for Paris

I just scrubbed another post because trivial stuff doesn’t matter in the face of hatred.  Please someone help me understand what goes through a person’s mind to commit atrocities? I can’t understand it. It’s just so depressing.


My thoughts are with the people of Paris, and really the world because there are truly evil people out there.

Sears & Roebuck really did sell everything

And now for something completely different.

Very interesting find to show. In our old house, which was built in 1904 (or thereabouts) John was insulating the attic and found some boxes with what he said were newspapers and magazines. I never really looked in those boxes and they stayed in the attic. When we moved to Radiance Manor, we ended up taking those boxes with us. Fast forward to last weekend while I was rearranging the basement and came upon those boxes. I hadn’t looked in them before and wouldn’t you know I found some really neat stuff, including a Sears & Roebuck catalog from 1910!


This picture doesn’t show how huge it is. It’s 1000 pages.  It is full of everything! You can get clothing, groceries, dry goods, home improvement stuff, furniture, cars and whole houses!  Here is a sample of the products popular in 1910:

Ladies clothing.  Note the models were pretty slim back then as well…


Do you know how dumpy I would look in these outfits? Not designed for a short woman. Not at all.

To go under that outfit, don’t forget your pneumatic bust form!


And don’t forget the rubber female urinal because when you gotta go, you gotta go. Here people thought GoGirl was so innovative and it was already available in 1910 :D

Need a pick me up? How about some Beef, Iron and Wine?


Pleasantly aromatized with nutrients of beef in a fine sherry? Sounds delicious!

Shoes. Even a color section of the catalog. I have to say these styles aren’t bad, especially the top row on the left:


And at a dollar a pair, I just might even buy two!!

I then wondered if they might have sold trunks, so I found the index (in the middle — WTF?) and sure enough, they had trunks!


Funny how getting a beat up old trunk for $30 now is a great bargain and they went brand spanking new for $5 back then. Gotta love inflation.



I paid way more for my chaise. Should have gone to Sears, I guess.

The horrors:


All those layers of wallpaper removal in our house and some of it was pretty close to this style…



Doesn’t everyone need a cream separator?


Apparently so, because there were pages of different ones.

Musical instruments.


I didn’t check to see if there were bagpipes, but I did find an ocarina, so it wouldn’t surprise me.

And for the person on your gift list who has everything:


Cup of grease! Because who can’t use that??


Weekend ramblings

Seems like weekends are never enough time. I have plans for all that needs to get done, but rarely get to it all.  

I was out on Saturday for a nice bike ride. It was a little cloudy in the morning, but low 50s and enjoyable.


I had to wear more layers than earlier this week.

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I put a filter on that picture and my teeth look blue. I don’t have any clue what I’m doing with filters :D

John was away this weekend and I spent a lot of time with Mama Radiance.  We went to a craft show where I bought Christmas gifts.  I am on a roll with gifts!  I would show them, but the recipients might be reading ;)

We stopped for coffee at Spektor. We went in the back entrance and they had a large mural painted on the building of a coffee roaster.


Isn’t that cool? I wish it could be on the street front to see it more often.

Couple more of my 365 group pictures.  Saturday was Strings and I took a picture of my guitar using macro.


I wish I had thought to dust off the guitar first. I don’t touch the body that much at the neck. I like this shot and I find it interesting how the strings look wider when they are out of focus. I don’t understand why that is. So much to learn with this camera, but I am loving it so much! I really should have bought it sooner.

Sunday’s prompt was Crave.  My mom met me for bagels on Sunday morning. 


Blueberry bagel. It was tasty.

Crockpot for dinner today and to make a couple meals for this week. I made this chili, but used Morningstar Griller Crumbles so it would be vegetarian for John to eat when he got home.  I love how easy it is and so tasty!


Eaten in front of the TV while watching the Broncos. Too bad their unbeaten streak is over :(


The last purchase of candy corn until next October.  This was 75% off, too!  Must ration carefully. Can I please have a couple more weekend days?

Hello Friday

I am glad we have finally gotten to Friday.  This week went fast, though. Is that a good thing?

Looks like our warm weather is coming to an end.  I biked 4 of the 5 days this week, though!


I hope to get out some on Saturday as well.

This warm weather makes me miss the what’s blooming posts. I know the garden will be covered in snow all too soon!

Progress being made on the utility sink area. We are waiting on one part for the sink hook up, so we can’t get that in until it arrives. We’ve got most of the flooring done, though. Here is a sneak peek. There is still white plastic protective stuff on the sink, FYI.


We ended up getting a stainless steel sink at a good price and since I will be making soap down here, this is really great. I wanted a counter or something to set stuff on, so this worked out good. I am pretty excited about this  – how nerdy is that?

Speaking of soap, I’ve been playing with pictures for my website. I still need to work on lighting because I am not totally satisfied with these.  Pine:


This one is called Thai Silk:


I love that scent. It’s a tiny bit floral and a powdery with sweet undertones. 

Here’s to having a productive weekend! 



Exercising my right to vote.

Yesterday was election day.  I will be honest here. I hate politics. I hate talking politics, hearing about politics, all the hot air of politics – and the joke that our political system has turned into with the ridiculousness going on in a certain party.  However, I do vote.  When we moved to Radiance Manor last year, we filled out our change of driver’s license and voting registration online.  How convenient, right?  Well, the licenses came within a week.  I stopped at the polling place during my bike ride yesterday and low and behold, I wasn’t registered. When I mentioned I had done it online, the official said “Oh, that’s why – the same thing happened to me”. Apparently there was an issue with online registrants. But, since this was a general election and not a primary, I could still vote. I just had to fill out one of these envelopes and put my ballot in there:


Just an FYI for anyone who isn’t registered or moved and still wants to vote, this is what you fill out. You only get to vote once, though :D

There wasn’t much on our ballot. Some unopposed seats and a couple small races, and the library budget. But, it’s my right to vote. A lot of women went through decades of hard work, blood, sweat and tears to get the 19th amendment passed – so I don’t want their work to be for naught, even if the election doesn’t mean a whole lot.



Suffragettes did a lot of work so women could have a voice. And if you do use your voice – be informed. Do your research. Don’t toe the party line – vote for whomever shares your ideals, regardless of party.  That’s how politics should work. Too bad it doesn’t.

We have been having amazing weather this week. It’s been in the 60s in the afternoons. It’s crazy!  That means biking has been happening.  Just a shot from along a ride:


A couple of my 365 photos.  This prompt was shades of gray:


I took that at an old train station in North Creek and turned it black and white. I liked the old look of the lettering on this.

Today’s prompt was indulgence and you know this is mine!


Things have been hopping around here. I know my posts are kind of sporadic, but that’s how it goes sometimes.  I did get my official tax license from NYS for my business, so that’s moving along, as is the progress on the utility sink area. Flooring going in tonight!