Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Book Club - "The Goldfinch"

What do you call a handful of ladies who get together once a month to eat tasty treats, drink a little wine, chat about their lives (and sometimes about a book that they may...or may not...have read?) Why, Book Club, of course!!

Last night, my book club met at my house, where the monthly book selection was "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt (more about that in a bit.) Since I was the host, I felt the urge to tie the theme into my food and decor. I thought and thought, and I asked myself, "WWMD?" ("What Would Martha Do?") She would probably have had cloth napkins (I had paper), delectable treats (I had finger-nibbles) and a hand-crafted centerpiece. OK, try as I might, I am no Martha, especially in the kitchen! But what I came up with was cute, easy and fun.

I started with a theme...yellow!  As you can see, I served pineapple chunks, cheese and crackers, pretzel bites and lemon bars.  The pretzel bites are always a crowd favorite, and this time I topped them with yellow candy melts and pecans.  So easy, and just the right mix of sweet and salty.  The lemon bars were a Pinterest discovery (here). I have to report that these were fail-proof (if I can make them successfully, ANYONE can) and delicious!

And what would Book Club be without wine? (Not nearly as much fun!) So I offered four varieties of wine to appease all tastes. For my buddies from Bloggy Bootcamp St. Louis, you will notice the Mirassou. I thought fondly of our time together as I served this Chardonnay.

It was easy to find yellow flowers in the garden to plop into a vase. Daylilies are in full bloom now. For my piece de resistance, I took an iron birdcage cloche, small flower pot, nest, and ceramic bird, all of which I had on hand, and created a centerpiece. However the bird, when purchased, resembled a robin so I did a little transformation with my craft paints and brushes. Within about 10 minutes, that robin had morphed into a goldfinch!

One last yellow detail. It's possible that this lady may have even dressed in yellow for the event (too much??) In my defense, though, I already had these mustard-colored pants and I wear them regularly! And here is a very bad attempt at my first-ever (shameless) selfie.

Would someone please educate me on how to do this?

Ok, Ok, about the book..............

The concensus of the group was that it was an excellent read. It was a hair long, at over 700 pages, but one of our members strongly felt that the length was necessary to fully develop the characters and themes of loss, grief, restoration, beauty, art, etc. We were personally drawn to certain characters despite their flaws (i.e. Boris) and were able to relate to the many levels of family, relational, and personal struggles within the difficult storyline. We tried to get into the minds of Hobie and Mrs. Barbour; and we were saddened and perplexed by the actions of Theo's father and Kitsey.

But the tragic story was really about Theo, a lost and hurting soul who battled grief and guilt, loss and confusion. The author gave us so much to ponder about life and death in this book. It was well worth persisting through all 700+ pages.

Have you read "The Goldfinch"? What did you think?

Sharing with: The Style Sisters, DIY by Design, Elizabeth and Co, Life in Velvet, Share Your Cup, Between Naps on the Porch, Nancherrow, Shabby Art Boutique, Simple Details, Pieced Pastimes, Dwellings, Rustic and Refined, Domestically Speaking

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Jewelry Art

When it comes to sparkly jewelry, I am worse than a magpie. I just can't resist all of that glitter and shine. And when there is a whole cluster of it together in one place, I almost need to be sedated, haha.

Here's the crazy part, though. I don't wear much of it at all. In fact, I'm basically a minimalist in the fashion accessories area. But that doesn't stop me from collecting, NO SIR!

So, you ask, "What does one do with jewelry if not wear it?"

Drumroll, please.............

This peacock (necklace) is a Betsy Johnson piece that I scored at a garage sale for next to nothing. For those of you fashionistas out there, I realize it could be a little hard to accept that Betsy's necklace is retired as jewelry. But I think it makes an equally stunning piece of art in this chunky frame. I added the crown to emphasize the royal symbolism of the peacock (do I sound intellectual right now?) And I added a little extra bling with some Swarovski crystals (left over from long-ago days of embellishing dance costumes.)

But that's not the only bedazzled piece of art that I have created recently.

Here is another picture that began as an array of earrings, necklaces, rings and pins that were picked up at tag sales and flea markets. The frame is also a bargain-basement find.

Christmas in June, anyone?

Stay tuned...there is a vintage brooch bouquet being assembled in my craft room for a very special bride-to-be!

Sharing with: Coastal Charm, The DIY'ers, Upcycled Treasures, Cozy Little House, DIY by Design, From My Front Porch to Yours, Share Your Cup Thursday, Lamberts Lately, Revisionary Life, The Dedicated House, Shabby Art Boutique, Natasha in Oz

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sun Porch Serenity

This pretty lady didn't always have it "going on". In fact, not long ago she looked like this...

I decided to do something more serene in here, starting with the floor color. And for those of you who follow along with me, you surely won't be surprised to learn that I chose green. But doesn't it make the room feel like it's spilling out into the yard? (At least until July or August when our yard is no longer green, but brown as the Sahara desert.)

Pardon the furniture in here...the sofa was a yard sale find, and it is THE most comfy piece, inducing sleep almost as soon as you sit down (displayed in that "before" photo by our greyhound, Mario.) And that chair, well, what it lacks in style it more than makes up for in comfort. Considering the amount of dust, dirt and dog hair that accumulates out here, these pieces are suitable enough. This rug is from Ballard Designs. The black grounds the room and lends some drama to the space.

The sunflower pillow was a placemat that my BFF whipped up for me. And the "Relax" pillow was a Hobby Lobby find. I wanted to incorporate that message in this space, so it is perfect.

I tried to invoke a garden theme out here but I have a confession...some of the plants are faux. I'm not going to reveal which ones, so I'll keep you guessing. The trellis, finial and watering can carry the theme throughout the room.

This dresser was purchased from an antique shop for my daughter's nursery when she was born. (She is 24 now so it's been with us for awhile!) Every item on this dresser was found at a tag sale or flea market with the exception of the urn (Anthropologie.) And for the record, the orchid is real. My son gave it to me for Mother's Day...to replace the one he gave me the previous Mother's Day, which I killed. He says I get a second chance, haha.

This little table and chairs used to sit in our kitchen, but it works really nicely out here now. You can read about the wall decor in my last post (here).

I took some cuttings from our hostas and penstemons and brought out the antique garden tools to create a centerpiece. Now the porch is ready for hours and hours of summer relaxation.

Sharing with...
Amaze Me Monday, Revisionary Life, Between Naps on the Porch, Domestically Speaking, A Stroll Thru Life, Cedar Hill Farmhouse, Cozy Little House, Upcycled Treasures, Coastal Charm, Ivy and Elephants, A Delightsome Life, Lamberts Lately, Life in Velvet
Nancherrow, From My Front Porch to Yours, Shabby Art Boutique, French Country Cottage, Pieced Pastimes, A Joyful Cottage