Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book Review

Sarah's KeySarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Unbearably sad account of a relatively unknown, or at least, not well-known, period of French history of the roundup of Jewish French in 1942.

Sarah is taken with her parents and thousands of others, by the French Police. Sarah had locked her younger brother into a secret closet in their home, telling him she will be back for him and to stay quiet. She had no idea that the forced evacuation from their home would be permanent.

The consequence of that action, as played out in the lives of so many others is heart-wrenching.

The story reverts from 1942 to current day, with a French journalist uncovering the story and determining to discover all the facts of what happened to Sarah and her family.

The reader can almost feel a bit of the anguish at the evil actions wrought on these poor souls. Although this book is fiction, the facts of the roundup of July 1942 are true.

There will never be enough books written or words spoken to convey the utter travesty of this terrible period in our worlds' history. As this book says; Never Again!"

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Book Review

Over to Candleford (Penguin Modern Classics)Over to Candleford by Flora Thompson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have been reading this in tandem with watching episodes of the BBC series. The book is full of endearing scenes of village life for Laura and her family in the hamlet of 1880's Lark Rise, as well as the nearby town of Candleford.

I discovered that the expression "a pretty kettle of fish" comes from the fact of having a lovely oval pan used for cooking fish, NOT that the fish were pretty!

We meet Dorcus Lane, postmistress of the Candleford Post Office who offers Laura the opportunity to work for her there as an apprentice.

This book serves as a sweet record of a time of simple village life that has long since passed but should be remembered. A time when families enjoyed each day despite how little they sometimes had.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Book Review

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust BowlThe Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Incredible stories from the lives of those who lived in the miserable Dust Bowl years in half of Kansas and parts of Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado and Nebraska.

The years leading up to the Dust Bowl of 1933-1938 were ones of obsessive conversion of native grasslands by farmers planting wheat and other crops. Having cleared millions of acres and with crops decimated by weather conditons, people were assailed by tons of dust on a daily basis. No amount of prevention could keep it out of their homes. Many were afficted with "dust pneumonia" and many suffered cruel deaths. Some left their homes behind to move on, but most stayed and tried to wait it out. With no income, their homes and lands mortgaged, many felt forced to stay. Added to this, rainfall was nearly non-existant and grasshoppers plagued the land as well.

Mr. Egan interviewed survivors from this time period as well as devoured records and diaries to tell the stories of many in one book. Their lives are not only a record of what people can and did endure, but also a tale of how much of what happened was due to naive destruction of their land.

This book certainly makes evident what man's actions have done to change a part of our country for many years to come.

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Book Review

A Trick of the Light (Armand Gamache, #7)A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Continuing to read books in a series means returning to characters that you have come to love, or, in this case, really dislike. Appealing Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is, for me, a teddy bear of a man, a father figure, who leads his underlings in solving crime while endearing himself to many.  Several recurring characters are either very annoying or just not like able.

Set in Three Pines in Canada, a small village unknown to most, the story revolves around an artist who is finally being given recognition through the larger art world. The murder of someone from her past at her home brings Gamache and his crew to investigate.

Penney revels in intricate characterizations and the psychology of relationships. Some of her characters are unlikable in the extreme, as people are in real life.

The case is solved, but leaving several threads loose for the next book to weave.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Falling for Fall

In the night, while we sleep, nature turns itself into fall, my most favorite season.  Changed up my look just a bit to reflect a small way to celebrate.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Grammy's Playful Weekend~~~~~3 Fun Projects !

Sometimes the smallest ideas turn out best;  or at least I think so........................

I got this idea for something new for Fall (YES!) for my front door.  I love wheat so wanted to use that...........Bought a 12 inch letter "K" at Joanns', painted it black and  made little bunches of wheat to glue on........... tied it off with some yummy black ribbon. Simple, but I love it.  I took the pic of it hanging on an over sized yardstick that I used for hanging artwork, but it now lives on the front door.

And, since Joanns' had a special "Seniors Day" with an extra 20% off, (I CAN NOT believe I really qualify!) and since the Fiskars punches were already 30% off, I got this great new "Puzzle" punch  for half price. Grammy does love a bargain!  An old 25 cent clipboard that I recently picked up at a garage sale with a bunch of black and white paper cutouts is now a cute little altered bit of love.
AND, my Favorite thing of all..........................I have a bunch of very old photo negatives that were from my grandparents.  I have used them some in mixed media art and just love looking at them. I used one that shows my grandmother and my father when he would have been about 7, so that would have been around 1928.  I glued it onto this great old jar/water container, then tied some crocheted work around the top and added the tatting that my grandmother actually made.  Also added a horseshoe ephemera and a tiny metal horseshoe that I recently was given by Laurie of Indulge My Shelf. I LOVE this and it makes me happy.  My great-grandfather was a champion at horseshoe pitching, so the horseshoes make it even more special. I'm gonna make more of these!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Book Review

Jane and the Genius of the Place (Jane Austen Mysteries, #4)Jane and the Genius of the Place by Stephanie Barron

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As the 4th in a series of mysteries involving Jane Austen as a lady sleuth, we are treated to a delicious taste of the proprieties of life in 1800 England. Written with a clear eye for the historically accurate, we discover more and more about the Jane that so many of us love.

The mystery lies in the death of a French woman during an English horse race at the time when Bonaparte lies in wait to do war against England. Jane assists her brother, who is the local appointed man of the law, in solving the murder, all the while educating us in the ways of society of the time. Descriptions of their clothing and surroundings are stunning.

Delightful escape while pursuing the well written word.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY.............. PINTEREST !!!

For a girl who loves to organize, Pinterest is like falling in love.................The GOOD is that there are an amazing array of images waiting to be chosen and  pinned onto your own bulletin boards, naming them just as you please. The BAD is that a girl could waste a lot of time there, perusing and pinning and letting other things go.  The UGLY could be letting all that is there entice you to wanting more and more, or in my case, seeing all the yummy sweets recipes and making and eating too many of them ! :(

Used in moderation, Pinterest is a great resource to find groups of images that interest you or help others see what you are all about.  It is also easy to "Pin" images onto the site from other web sites.

If you have not seen it yet, give Pinterest a look. Sounds like I am doing a commercial, but no, I do not work for them. And, if you would like to see a few things that I like, click on the red Pinterest button on the right.

Happy Wednesday Night!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Book Review

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom ThumbThe Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Vinnie Warren was the diminutive woman promoted by P.T. Barnum who became a celebrity and married Charles Stratton, a.k.a. Tom Thumb.

Although fiction, this book is based on historical fact. Born in 1841, Vinnie was encouraged by her family to remain reclusive on her family farm, due to her petite size. She, however, found a great need to leave her mark in life and strived for notoiriety. She found it first on the riverboat with Colonel Wood, a crude huckster, who's mistreatment only ended when the Civil War sent the group to their homes. She later contacted P.T. Barnum and was totally charmed by his personality and promotion.

Her condition, as well as that of a younger sister, Minnie, was a form of "Proportionate Dwarfism". probably cased by a pituitary disorder. Today, such a condition would be given growth hormones.

Although her life was quite fascinating, I found that I did not like Vinnie. She seemed to possess an arrogance of spirit that caused her to mistreat those around her, wrongly assisgning guilt to others as well as herself. As a person of such petite dimensions, she did overcome many obstacles, which is to be admired.

Historical events are only touched upon, such as Vinnies' meeting with General Grant and his family and of she and her husbands' stay at the Lincoln White House.

Vinnie died in 1919.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September Collage Challange at Green Paper

Got a little silly with the collage for September.....................I printed off the images in various sizes; at one time, I had the woman in white looking like the gal in that old movie, "The Fifty Foot Woman!".  Anyhow, the girl is "hot", the mother, teary but glad and the guy more than a little bit timid.

Thanks Mary for the images!

Book Review

So Many Ways to BeginSo Many Ways to Begin by Jon McGregor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As the title says, there would be so many ways to describe this story. A young English boy is infatuated with museums and collecting and dreaming of owning his own museum some day. He collects and learns and does begin work in a museum after his school graduation. He meets a girl from Scotland who has an abusive mother and they marry, having a daughter. He finds out a very disturbing fact about his past that causes him to begin a quest to find the truth.

The author writes with such an understanding of the depth of emotion we feel as parents, as we watch our children grow and change. As with all stories, people live their lives, grow older, discover and deal with events that either change them for the better or for the worse. In this story, David comes full circle, having partially fulfilled his goal, but dealing with defeat, some due to his own choices, and comes to terms with his life and what he possesses.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Neutral Bits and Pieces Collage

What fun I have had the past couple of days assembling this collage. I began with a 12  X  12 piece of stretched canvas, measured off in 16 squares, then painted the squares. I added some pieces of old, worn note paper, strips of music to divide the squares and lots of lace, crochet and needlework. Topped each square off with bits and pieces of found objects in neutral shades. 

I am so pleased with it and now want to do one in all black and white.


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